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Cornell University 

The original of tiiis book is in 
tine Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 









' 3 

5 6~U-^ 

Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1873 , 


In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington* 



34 School Strbst, Bostoit 


In Board of AiiDERMEN, 
June 28, 1869. 

Ordered, That the Committee on Printing be instructed to 
obtain, if practicable, the assent of his Honor the Mayor, to the 
publication of his manuscript relating to the history and topog- 
raphy of the City of Boston and its Harbor ; and if such assent 
can be obtained, to cause one thousand copies of such manu- 
script to be printed for the use of the city, the expense thereof 
to be charged to the appropriation for Incidental Expenses. 

Passed in Common Council. Came up for concurrence. 
:Read and concurred. Approved by the Mayor, June 28, 1869. 

A true copy. Attest: 

S. F. McCLEARY, City Clerk. 












The following pages comprise a series of articles on the topog- 
raphy of Boston, with an occasional mention of historical 
occurrences. They were written during the leisure hours 
allowed by a professional life, from memorandums which the 
writer has been preserving for nearly forty years. The fifty- 
seven chapters which are included in the volume are a portion 
only of what should form the work, if it should ever attain to 
the distinction of being a comprehensive topographical and 
historical description of the ancient town, with its changes, 
enlargements and improvements since it became endowed with 
the corporate powers granted by its city charter ; the book, 
therefore, treats only of parts of what a general work would 
demand. To each of the particular subjects of description, per- 
haps enough has been given, leaving to the future a continuation 
of the work and other matters for similar consideration. 

The nature of- the efibrt has been such, that each subject has 
been made to cover the whole space of time that appropriately 
belongs to it ; and therefore, each chapter may have a range 
from the first settlement of the town to the present year : for 
the writer has attemj)ted to bring his descriptions to the time 
when he takes his pen from the paper. A chronological work, 
in the shape of annals, might have been more sure of touching 
all matters of interest than the plan pursued ; but, then, subjects 
would have been dismembered, and the searcher for information 
would have been compelled perforce to become a compiler, in- 
stead of a reader of the deductions and arrangements of others. 


In matters relating to the localities and ancient landmarks of an 
old place, with their olden-time associations, no other plan of 
arrangement could well be adopted and carried out. The plan 
is made imperative by the subject. 

It would be impossible, even in so pleasant a task as the 
writer has attempted, to perform the work without au uninten- 
tional omission of some little matters intimately connected with 
the subject of the descriptions. Many of these omissions have 
undoubtedly occurred in the chapters now presented to the 
reader; and while indulgence is asked for these shortcomings, 
the mention of a few only are deemed of sufScient importance to 
require their notice in a preface. These relate to maps and 
plans of Boston, Roxbury, and Boston Harbor. In the Pennsyl- 
vania Magazine for July, 1775, is a plan of the town of Boston 
and Provincial camp, engraved by Aitkins. The plan ot the 
town is derived from the same source as that of the plan in the 
Gentleman's Magazine. On one corner of the plate is a small 
chart of the Provincial camp, drawn to a scale of two miles to 
an inch, exhibiting the lines extending from Charles River 
through Cambridge and Charlestown to Winter Hill on the 
southerly border of the Mystic River, and also the lines in Rox- 
bury, as well as Gage's lines around Boston Neck near the 
Roxbury line. Besides these lines are designated the situations 
of tiie main guard at " Cambridge College," and of the various 
ports, batteries, and hills. A plan of General Gage's lines on 
Boston Neck, drawn to the scale of about three hundred feet to 
an inch, illustrates the August number of the same magazine; 
and in the number for June is an " engraving of the Harbour and 
Town of Boston and parts adjacent." A map of the town of 
Roxbury, as surveyed by John G. Hales, was published by the 
selectmen of Roxbury in Apri!, 1832, on a scale of one hundred 
rods to an inch, the plate being by seventeen and a 
half inches in size. This last includes the present town of West 
Roxbury. In 1817, a careful survey of Boston Harbor was 
made by Alexander S. Wadsworth, U. S. N., by order of Com- 


modore William Bainbridge, and engraved by Allen & Gaw, on 
a scale of fifteen hundred feet to an inch, under the direction of 
John Melish, by whom it was published at Philadelphia in 1819. 
This is a very valuable chart of the whole harbor, and is printed 
on a sheet measuring forty-two by thirty-six inches. 

With these few prefatory remarks these pages are now com- 
mitted to the public. But for the request of the City Council 
of Boston, that they might be printed in the present form, they 
would have been allowed to remain in the writer's scrap-boolc 
until the work that he has undertaken shall have been com- 
pleted. If any information can be gleaned from the chapters 
and pleasant recollections or associations of the past awakened 
by them, the labor of one who feels a deep interest in the subject 
upon which he has written, as well as in everything that apper- 
tains to the place of his birth and habitation, will be satisfactorily 

N. B. S. 
Boston, November, 1870. 






Aekival of Colonists anb Settlement of Boston . . 23 

Eakly Desceiptions of Boston 38 

Ancient Descriptions by English Weitees ... 53 

Desceiptions by Feench Weitees 67 

Descriptions by Feench Weitees 77 

Maps and Plans 91 

Points, Coves, Ceeek, Old Bridges, and Batteries • . 106 

Divisions of the Town 124 

Divisions of the Town, and Eivees 137 

The Theee Hills of Boston 158 

Beacon Hill and its Eminences, Beacon Pole and Monu- 
ment 170 

Cemeteeies. Chapel Bueying-Geottnd 182 

NoETH Bueying-Ground 197 

Granary BuEYiNG-GEOtrND 210 

Quaker BxTRYiNG-GEOimD 227 

Central Burying -Ground . 235 



South BuETrNG-GEOTJND, axd Cemeteeies .... 243 

South Boston and East Boston Cemeteeies . . • 252 

Bueting-Geounds in Boston Highlands .... 270 

dorchestee burtingf-geounds 280 

HiSTOET or Boston Common . . . . • . . - 294 

BouNDABT, Extent, and Fences of the Common . . 307 

Malls, Paths, and Walks of the Common .... 320 

The old Elm and other Teees on the Common . . 329 

Topography of the Common. Executions .... 341 

Public Gaeden 356 

Paddock's Mall 368 

Public Squaees 378 

Speings, Town Pumps, and Keseevoies 388 

The old Conduit 398 

Ponds and Aqueducts 406 

Entrances to Boston 416 

Boston Harbor, and its Surroundings and Islands . . 431 

Bird, Koddle's, Hog, and Goteenoe's Islands . . . 442 

Catasteophe in the Haeboe. Apple and Snake Islands 453 

Deee Island . . 462 

Channels, Upper Middle, and Castle Island . . . 472 

Castle Island and Foet Independence .... 484 

Thompson's, Moon and Half-Moon Islands .... 497 

The Back Wat, and Spectacle Island 508 

Eainsfoed Island, and the Old Quarantine ... 518 

Long Island - . 528 

Nix's Mate. The Narrows and other Ship Passages . 537 

Gallop's and Lovell's Islands 545 



George's, Pettick's, and othee Islands .... 554 

Islands at the Mouth of the Harbok 564 

Eecapitulatoey Description of the Harbor, and Distances 579 

Ancient Style or«BtriLDiNG, and the Old Landmarks . 588 

The Province House ... 593 

The Green Dragon Tavern 605 

The Birthplace of Pranklin 615 

The Blue Ball in Union Street 626 

The Old Feather Store 639 

The Julien House in Milk Street 649 

The Old Stone House in Cross Street .... 663 

The Old Corner Book-Store 671 

The Triangular Warehouse 681 

INDEX ...... o 693 




A BRIEF review of the principal facts relating to the 
discovery and settlement of the American continent by 
European enterprise, and particularly that portion of it 
included within the limits of l!^ew England, is indispen- 
sably requisite to a correct understanding and apprecia- 
tion of the pecToliar institutions which must be depicted 
in giving a faithful history and description of a place so 
noted in American history, so distinguished in its own 
relations, and so identified with all the liberal movements 
of the age, as is Boston. 

With a full belief of the sphericity of the earth's 
figure, and consequently possessing the knowledge that 
where the ocean terminated land would have a begin- 
ning, the great discoverer of the western hemisphere, 
under the patronage of Ferdinand and Isabella, the for- 
tunate sovereigns of Spain, set sail from Palos on Friday, 
the third day of August, 1492, with three vessels and a 
few men, to perform a voyage, the grandest in design, 
the most daring in achievement, and the most wonderful 
and important in its result, of any that has ever been 
undertaken and accomplished by man. Of the largest 


of the three vessels, called the Santa Maria, Columbus 
himself, as Admiral, took command. The Pinta was 
placed uiider the charge of Martin Alonzo Pinzon, and 
the Mna under that of Yincent Yanez Pinzon, both 
of these gentlemen holding the rank of Captain. 

Putting into Gomera, one of the most westerly of 
the Canary Islands, on the twelfth of August, for the 
purpose of repairs and refitting, these vessels sailed for 
the grand exploration on the sixth day of the next Sep- 
tember. A sufficiently minute detail of the occurrences 
of this ever-memorable voyage is given by the eloquent 
and gifted historian of Columbus and his companions, 
"Washington Irving; which being familiar to historical 
readers precludes the necessity of repeating in this 
connection any of the interesting particulars of the 
eventful passage. 

On the night of the eleventh of October, the eagle- 
eye of the enthusiastic and ever- watchful Columbus dis- 
covered a small glimmering light, the harbinger of land 
so much desired; and which, on the morning of the 
next day, became apparent also to the eyes of the 
discouraged and almost rebellious voyagers, his com- 
panions on the sea. At break of day, Columbus, 
superbly arrayed in rich and costly garments, 
strongly contrasting with the naked inhabitants of the 
newly discovered land, sword in hand, went first on 
shore; and there with his happy and wondering follow- 
ers gave thanks for their safe deliverance from the per- 
ils of the ocean, and for the successful and glorious 
termination of their voyage. 

The land thus discovered proved to be Guanahani, 
now known as San Salvador, one of the Bahama Islands ; 
and the day of the discovery was Friday, the twelfth day 


of October, 1492, which should now be commemorated 
on the twenty-first day of the same month, to accord 
with the new style of computing time now in use. After 
the discovery of several other islands, Columbus, sailing 
from Hispaniola, the last discovered land, on the six- 
teenth day of the following January returned to Spain, 
arriving at the mouth of the Tagus on the fourth of 

During the year 1493, Columbus made a second voy- 
age to the new world; and, on the eighth day of Decem- 
ber of the same year, he laid the foundation of a town 
on the island of Hispaniola, which, being the first founded 
in the new country, he named Isabella, in honor of his 
patroness, the Queen of Castile. 

It was not, however, until the first day of August, 
1498, that Columbus, on his third voyage, reached any 
part of the main land of the American continent; nor 
was he aware, at that time, that the land which was then 
seen was any other than an island; therefore he gave it 
the name of La Isla Santa, little thinking that he beheld, 
for the first time, the soil of a new continent. This land, 
situated at the mouth of the river Orinoco, is now in- 
cluded within the boundaries of the repubKc of Vene- 
zuela, which lies easterly of that great country which 
bears the name of Colombia, in grateful remembrance 
of the illustrious navigator, its first European discoverer. 

After maMng a fourth voyage across the Atlantic, the 
admiral, for by this title Columbus wished always to 
be designated, quitting forever the field of his discov- 
eries and glory, returned to Spain ; and, being worn out 
by fatigue, ill-treatment, and premature old age, he died 
at Yalladolid on the twentieth of May, 1506, in about 
the seventy-first year of his age, and the fourteenth of 


his renown, and was buried in the convent of St. Fran- 
cisco, the funeral services being attended with great 
pomp, in the parochial church of Santa Maria de la An- 
tigua. Such, however, is the mutability of all sublunary 
matters, that his earthly remains were afterwards re- 
moved, in the year 1513, to a chapel of a Carthusian 
monastery in Seville, and again, in 1536, to Hispaniola, 
where they were deposited in the principal chapel of the 
cathedral, in the city of San Domingo. After remaining 
in this last place of sepidture about two hundred and 
sixty years, the relics of the great discoverer were trans- 
ported to the island of Cuba, and in January, 1796, were 
placed near the great altar in the cathedral at Havana, 
there, it is hoped, nevermore to be distiirbed by mortal 

Although Columbus was the first authentic discov- 
erer of the western hemisphere, nevertheless, in the 
eighteenth century, an Icelandic historian, Thormoder 
Thorfseus, inspired with national pride, claimed for his 
own countrymen a prior knowledge of the American 
Continent, founded on tradition of undoubted authority, 
dating back many centuries, . 

It is well known that the ISTorthmen, inhabiting IS'or- 
way, Sweden and Denmark; were at a very early period 
of the Christian era acquainted with the science and 
practice of navigation, far surpassing the people of the 
south of Europe in building vessels and managing them 
upon the sea. The adventures of this people, however, 
were of a mere predatory character, and possessed noth- 
ing of that thirst for the glory of discovery which so 
eminently distinguished those of the navigators of the 
southern countries. As early as the year 861, in one of 
their piratical excursions, Iceland was discovered; and. 


about the year 889, Greenland was peopled by the Danes 
under Friedlos, better known as Eireck Rauda, Eric 
Raude, and sometimes as Eric the Red, a noted chief- 

"Very early in the eleventh century, Biame or Biome, 
somietimes called Biron in historical writings, an Icelan- 
der, who had visited many different coxmtries with his 
father, Heriulf, for trading purposes, being accidentally 
separated from his parent on one of these voyages, in 
directing his course to Greenland was driven by a storm 
southwesterly to an unknown country, level in its for- 
mation, destitute of rocks, and thicMy wooded, having 
an island near its coast. After the abatement of the 
storm, performing his intended voyage to Greenland, he 
sailed, in the year 1002, on a voyage of discovery in 
company with Leif (son of the Eric the Red), a person 
of adventurous disposition, whose desire he had awakened 
by a recital of his accidental discovery. In this expedi- 
tion, Biron officiated as guide. It is supposed that the 
countries which these men visited on this voyage, and 
which they called Helluland on account of the rocky soil, 
Markland (the woody), and Vinland dat gode (the good 
wine country), were in the neighborhood of the island 
of IsTewfoimdland and the gulf of St. Lawrence; and that 
the inhabitants, which from their diminutive size they 
called Skraelings, were the aborigines of that region. 

It has been stated that the Icelandic navigators not 
only visited the shores of Greenland and Labrador, but 
in often repeated voyages they explored the seacoast 
of America as far south as IS'ew Jersey, establishing 
colonies in E'ova Scotia and jSTewfoundland. They are 
supposed to have been in ISTew England on some of 
their voyages, and it Ijas been suggested by Wheaton in 


his history of the Northmen that they even anchored 
near the harbor .of Boston; but of this the tradition is 
very vague and unsatisfactory. 

Leif, the son of Eric, was succeeded in his explora- 
tions by his brother Thorwald, who in the year 1003 
attempted discoveries more to the southward than those 
previously made, and who is said to have fallen in with 
several islands, perhaps those lying south of the 
Massachusetts coast, destitute of inhabitants. In a 
subsequent year, 1004, pursuing a more easterly and 
then northerly direction, he passed a cape to which he 
gave the name Kiliarnese, by some supposed to be Cape 
Cod, and following . the coast in a circuitous course 
discovered an abrupt promontory well covered with 
forest trees, which he named Krossaness, and which 
archaeologists have been led to think was one of the 
headlands of Boston harbor called by the Plymouth 
forefathers, in honor of their early agent. Point Aller- 
ton, the northerly termination of Nantasket Beach. 
The voyage of this last individual ended as it com- 
menced by wintering at Vinland previous to a return to 
Greenland, the place from which it was projected. 

Another of the same class of adventurers, but a per- 
son of considerable distinction and wealth among his 
countrymen, Thorfin by name, made a similar attempt 
in the same du^ection in 1007. By this time the route 
to Wineland, the vinland of Leif, had become well- 
known to the Icelandic and INTorwegian navigators, and 
Thorfin, with more than usual encouragement, and an 
outfit ample for the days in which it was made, set saU 
in three vessels with seven score of men with the inten- 
tion of planting a colony in some of the regions that had 
been discovered by his predecessors, or upon some new 


and more suitable territory which he perchance might 
fall in with on his voyage. Whether the island abound- 
ing with wUd ducks, to which he gave the name of 
Straumey, was Martha's Yineyard, and his new haven 
of Straumfiords was Buzzard's Bay, cannot well be de- 
ternfinedj but it is related, that in prosecuting his inves- 
tigations farther in an inland direction by passing 
through a river giving prospect of the desired land, and 
arriving in an expanse of water bountifully supplied 
with grain and fruitful vines, he met with savages whose 
description is not much unlike that of the JS'ew England 
Indians, and who forced him much against his will to 
give up his contemplated design, and return home, not 
only frustrated but disheartened from making further at- 
tempts; and thus terminated, with the exception of a 
few smaller attempts, the voyages of the Icelandic navi- 
gators and adventurers upon the American continent. 

"Wales, in the person of Madoc, son of Owen Gwyn- 
neth, claims to be interested in the first settling of 
America. It is asserted by HaHuyt, who wrote in the 
time of Queen Elizabeth, and whose book was first pub- 
lished in 1589, that this Welshman, a younger son of 
one of the Welsh rulers, left his natural home, where 
his relatives were quarrelling about an inheritance, and 
sailing for the west, made discovery of land in the 
neighborhood of Florida, in the year 1170. It is also 
said that he made several voyages, and finally established 
himself and followers in a region not far from Mexico 
and the West Indies. But these accounts, written at a 
time when England was aspiring to the sovereignty of 
the 'New World, are too frivolous, and are destitute of • 
all internal evidence of truth. The same may be said 
of almost all of the early claimed discoveries, including 


those of the brothers Zeno : and, indeed, whatever may 
have been gained by these traditionary voyages, it is 
certain that they were forgotten for many years; and 
that, as late as the fifteenth century, Greenland was only 
known to the ISTorwegians and Danes as a lost land. 

[^Notwithstanding the exalted idea Colimibus had of 
the importance of his discovery, his imagination fell far 
short of its real greatness. He never dreamed of hav- 
ing given a new continent to the world; his utmost 
thought being that he had found a new and shorter pas- 
sage to the long-known golden regions of the East. 
But it remained for another, Amerigo Yespucci, who 
followed in his plain and easy track, to take advantage 
of his ignorance, and give his name to the largest conti- 
nent of the world, by announcing, as he did in his 
famous letter to Lorenzo de Medici, in 1504, that the land 
discovered in the western hemisphere was not the India 
long sought by a western passage, but a new and exten- 
sive continent. 

On the fifth of March, 1496, John Cabot, a Venetian 
merchant residing in Bristol, England, obtained from 
Henry Vil., King of England, a patent, giving power to 
himself and three sons (Lewis, Sebastian, and Sancius), 
or either of their legal representatives, to sail with five 
ships, procured at their own expense, for the purpose of 
making search for lands unknown to Christian people, 
where they should raise the standard of England, and 
occupy the land, thus discovered and possessed, as vas- 
sals of the English crown. The patentees were required 
to pay to the king one-fifth of all the proceeds of the 
enterprise; and, moreover, were bound to land at the port 
of Bristol on their return from all voyages. John 
Cabot, and his son Sebastian, a native of Bristol and 


afterwards more distinguished than his father, sailing 
from Bristol in the ship Matthew, undertook their voyage 
to the unknown regions of the west under this patent; 
and in this adventure made the first authentic discovery 
of the American continent. The land thus discovered 
by English merchants was a portion of Labrador, and 
the event took place on the twenty-fourth day of June, 
1497, O. S., about fourteen months before Columbus on 
his third voyage came in sight of the main land, and 
nearly two years before Amerigo Yespucci (or, as he is 
better known, Americus Vespucius) ventured to follow 
the illustrious Columbus. 

On the third of February of the next year, another 
patent, with more limited powers and privileges, was 
granted to John and Sebastian Cabot, father and son, 
who sailed for Labrador in the following May. In this 
voyage they made land very far to the north; and, having 
coasted as far south as the most southern boundary of 
Maryland, were compelled to put about and return to 
England on account of a deficiency of provisions. Al- 
though Sebastian Cabot kept up an interest in adventu- 
rous voyages until his death, at a very advanced age,very 
little is known of his making any subsequent to this. 

Of the long list of illustrious names connected with 
the voyages made to the southern part of the IsTorth 
American Continent, nothing further need be said; but 
it may not be uninteresting to notice the fact, that in 
1524, John de Verazzani, a Florentine, in the service 
of Francis I. of France, discovered a continent, in which 
he found a harbor supposed to be that of IS'ew York; 
and that he subsequently coasted along the northern 
shores as far as JSTewfoundland. Many were the voyagers 
who visited the American coast in northern latitudes 


before the actual settlement of 'New England, some of 
whom attempted the establishment of colonies, but failed 
in their endeavors. Others attempted the colonization 
of Virginia with more or less success. 

It would be a serious omission not to mention in this 
place, that, after the unfortunate attempts of Sir Walter 
Ealeigh to make a settlement of Virginia, under the 
patent obtained of Queen Elizabeth, in 1584, Bartholo- 
mew Gosnold, a daring mariner from the western part of 
England, being possessed of a great desire for discovery, 
on the twenty-sixth of March, 1602, O. S., set sail from 
Yarmouth, in England, in a small vessel with only 
thirty-two men, and by the first direct course ever 
accomplished made land on the fourteenth of May fol- 
lowing. After cruising about a fortnight, he disem- 
barked on the eighteenth of May, probably the first 
Englishman who set foot on Massachusetts soil, selecting 
as a resting-place the small island called Outtyhunk, the 
most westerly of the group at the mouth of Buzzard's 
Bay, Imown as the Elizabeth Islands, and about fifteen 
miles south of l^ew Bedford. There upon a little but 
well wooded islet of about one acre of land, in a pond of 
fresh water, Gosnold built a fort, and established -a home, 
the vestiges of which to a sharp and not incredulous 
eye may be seen at the present time. The stay at 
Outtyhunk was of short duration, only long enough to 
give time for discoveries near the present site of 'New 
Bedford; for on the eighteenth of June, scarcely a 
month after his landing, he sailed with his men for home, 
and arrived at Exmouth, in the west of England, on 
the twenty-third of July. Gosnold, nothing daunted, 
returned to America in an expedition for the settlement 
of Virginia, where he died at Jamestown on the twenty- 


second of August, 1607, much regretted by his associ- 
ates, by whom he had been held in the highest esteem. 

The next attempt, of any account, for the settlement 
of l^ew England by EngUshmen,was made in the year 
1607, by Sir George Popham and Ealeigh Gilbert, with 
a hundred men and the proper supplies. Having left 
Plymouth, England, on the last of May, they fell in 
with Monahigon Island, near the coast of Maine, on the 
eleventh of August, and selected, for their field of 
operations, a position at Sagadahoc, at the mouth of 
Kennebec Eiver. There, after going through certain 
forms, they built a barn for a storehouse, and having 
fortified it in some degree against the hostile attacks of 
the natives, called it Fort St. George. Popham, under 
the title of President, took command of the small colony 
of forty-five persons, and the larger part of the original 
one hundred left for England on the fifth of the follow- 
ing December. Early the next year, on the fifth of 
February, Popham, their president, died, and the com- 
pany soon after, discouraged by this sad event, and 
dispirited by the loss by fire of a great part of their 
stores, abandoned the settlement of Sagadahoc. The 
French, however, were more successful in their endeavors, 
and made several small settlements, the most important 
of which was Quebec, the foundations of which were 
laid by Samuel Champlain on the third of July, 1608. 

Captain John Smith, whose name has become so 
familiar on account of his participation in the coloniza- 
tion of Virginia, and his visit to the 'New England coast, 
to which he gave namej set sail from the Downs on the 
third of March, 1613-14, and arrived at the island of 
Monahigon on the last of April, 1614. In a boat, 
which he had built since his arrival, Capt. Smith, with 


eight men, explored the seacoast from Penobscot Eiver 
to Cape Cod, trading with the natives, and giving names 
to the various locahties, which he subsequently pre- 
served upon a map of his own drawing, that is now 
regarded as one of the greatest curiosities which has 
been transmitted to posterity from the early voyagers. 
It was on this memorable occasion that, during the 
absence of the captain, the master of one of the vessels, 
Thomas Hunt, enticed on board his vessel twenty-four 
of the natives, and, conveying them into Spain, sold 
many of them for slaves. Among these captives was 
the famous Squanto, or Tisquantum, who subsequently, 
on being restored to. his home, proved of very much 
service to the Plymouth colonists. Capt. Smith died in 
London on the twenty-first of June, 1631, in the fifty- 
second year of his age. 

Captain Thomas Dermer, who had been with Cap- 
tain Smith in his voyage to 'New England in 1614, 
visited the region of Plymouth in June, 1620, about six 
months previous to the memorable landing of the Ply- 
mouth forefathers. He restored to his home the captive 
Squanto, and then returned to Virginia, where he soon 
died of wounds received from the Indians of Martha's 

On the sixth of September, 1620, O. S., the Plymouth 
forefathers, after previous ineffectual attempts, left the 
harbor of Plymouth, in England, in the May Flower, a 
vessel of a hundred and eighty tons' burden, and on the 
ninth of November, the sixty-fourth day of their voyage, 
came in sight of the cliffs of Cape Cod, as the promon- 
tory which now bears the name was called by Gosnold 
in 1602, although Smith in 1614 attempted to designate 
it Cape James in honor of the ruling sovereign of Eng- 


land; and in the hospitable harbor of Provincetown 
dropped anchor on the eleventh. There, on the last men- 
tioned day, the pilgrim fathers of 'New England first 
entered into a most sacred compact for their better order- 
ing and preservation; there the firstborn of that little 
band of self exiles first saw light; and there the immor- 
tal passengers of the May Flower first set foot on 
American soil, just one month before the famous land- 
ing upon Plymouth Rock, on Monday, the eleventh of 
December, 1620, O. S., which by the new style of reckon- 
ing time occurred on the twenty-first. On the fifth of 
April of the next year, the May Flower returned to 
England; the Fortune arrived on the ninth of Novem- 
ber, 1621, the Ann and the Little James in August, 
1623, and the Charity in 1624, and from this time 
forward arrivals at Plymouth were frequent. 

In 1622, Thomas Weston, a London merchant, who 
had been among the most active of the adventurers in 
promoting the settlement of Plymouth, withdrew his 
interest and attempted the estabhshment of a plantation 
of his own; and for this purpose sent fifty or more men ia 
two vessels, the Charity and the Swan, to commence 
a colony in the neighborhood of Plymouth, at a place 
called Wessagusset, part of the township of Weymouth. 
!N^ot succeeding to their mind, and fearing destruction 
by the Indians, these men abandoned the design, and the 
plantation was broken up within a year of its commence- 
ment under the auspices of Mr. Weston. 

In the year 1623, David Tompson, a Scotchman, and 
Edward and William Hilton, fishmongers of London, 
under patents obtained by John Mason and Sir Ferdi- 
nando Gorges, and others,^ commenced a settlement at 
Piseataqua Eiver. Subsequently the Hiltons removed 


to Cocheco, now known as Dover, in JS'ew Hampshire. 
In 1624, under an indenture, with all the formality of a 
charter, made on the first day of January, 1623-4, be- 
tween Edmund, Lord Sheffield, on the first part, and 
Eobert Cushman and Edward Winslow and their as- 
sociates and planters at Plymouth, on the second, an 
attempt for the settlement of a plantation at Cape Ann 
was made by Roger Conant and others, under the pat- 
ronage of the Dorchester Company in England. From 
this efibrt undoubtedly resulted the settlement of Salem, 
which dates its precedence from 1626, when a portion of 
Conant's colony removed to Naumkeik or !N^aumkeag, 
named by Smith on his early chart as Bastable, but sub- 
sequently called Salem by the early Massachusetts 

During the same year an abortive attempt was made 
for a settlement at Mount Wollaston (now Qtiincy) by. 
that prince Of misrule, Thomas Morton, a London petti- 
fogger. This by the instrumentality of the Plymouth 
colony was summarily prevented. 

On the nineteenth of March, 1627-8, Sir Henry 
Eosewell and Sir John Young, with their associates 
near Dorchester, in England, purchased of the Council 
for [N'ew England a patent for that part of the coun- 
try situated between three miles to the northward of 
the Merrimac River and three miles to the southward of 
the Charles River, and in length from the Atlantic 
Ocean to the South Sea. Under this charter, "the 
Governor and Company of the Massachusetts Bay in 
iSTew England " commenced the settlement of the Massa- 
chusetts colony; and for this purpose they chose Matthew 
Cradock to be their Governor, and Thomas Gofie their 
Deputy-Governor; and Captain John Endicott and 


Samuel Skelton and others were first sent over to 
JSTaumkeag, now Salem, which was the first town perma- 
nently settled in the Massachusetts colony, Endicott's 
company arriving in IN^ew England on the sixth of Sep- 
tember, 1628, and Skelton's on the twenty-ninth of 
June, 1629. A few persons from the Salem people 
about the same time settled Mishawum, Charlestown, 
where were seated a tribe of Indians called Aberginians, 
under John Sagamore, their chief. 

Perhaps the greatest step which the Massachusetts 
company took was consummated on the twenty-ninth of 
August, 1629, when it was determined, by the " general 
consent of the company," that the government and pa- 
tent should be settled in ISTew England. A few days 
previous to this resolution, twelve men, among whom 
were Sir Richard Saltonstall, Thomas Dudley, Isaac 
Johnson, Increase ITowell and John "Winthrop, pledged 
themselves at Cambridge, to be ready to embark for 
"New England with their families on the following 
March. In this stage of afiiairs, Matthew Cradock 
resigned his office as Governor, and John "Winthrop 
was chosen in his place; and Mr. Goflfe gave way to 
John Humphrey as Deputy-Governor. 

It may be well, here, to pass in review the great 
charters under which the first colonists were induced to 
leave their old homes of England, and to transplant 
themselves to American soU. On the tenth day of 
April, 1606, O. S., the memorable letters patent passed 
the seals of "Westminster, when the first James of 
England, son of the unfortunate Mary of Scotland, 
granted the first charter, to Sir Thomas Gates and Sir 
George Somers and others, and established by one 
instrument the two great colonies of America, — one 



to be called " the First Colony of Yirginia," and to be 
under the London Company,, and the other to be called 
"the Second Colony of Vn-ginia," and to be under 
the Plymouth Company. By this grant the terri- 
tories of these two overlapped each other three whole 
degrees of latitude, without ever causing any serious 
difficulties between the colonies on this account. A 
second charter was granted to the London Company on 
the twenty-third of May, 1609, and a third charter to 
the same on the twelfth of March, 1611-12, when they 
were incorporated by the name of " the Treasurer and 
Company of Adventurers and Planters of the City of 
London for the First Colony in Virginia." 

On the third of l^ovember, 1620, the patent of !N'ew 
England was granted to the "council established at 
Plymouth, in the county of Devon, for the planting, 
ruling, ordering and governing of 'New England in 
America." This document, generally designated as 
the " Great Patent of IsTew England," was in reality the 
basis of the various charters, indentures, and grants 
which were so numerous during the first years of the 
colonization of New England; and which, with the 
exception of the Massachusetts Charter, under which 
the settlement of Boston was commenced, need not be 
mentioned in this connection. 

On the fourth of March, 1628-9, O. S., the first 
Charles of England granted letters patent to Sir Henry 
Eosewell and others as a body corporate " by the name 
of the Governor and Company of the Massachusetts Bay, 
in New England." The original of this is preserved 
in the State archives, and has upon it the certificate, 
signed by Charles Csssar, that Matthew Cradock quali- 
fied under the charter on the eighteenth of March, 


1628-9; a duplicate of the same is preserved at Salem. 
The original at Boston has the following indorsement: 
"A perpetuity granted to Sir Henry Eosewell and 
others of parte of !N"ewe England, in America. "Wolse- 
ley." The Salem copy has this indorsement: "A du- 
plicate upon a pa granted to Sir Henry Eosewell 

and others. "Wolseley." The original has the autograph 
signature of "Wolseley, while the latter has the name 
written by the engrosser. 

Such was the condition of iN'ew England, and such 
the settlements in the colonies of Plymouth and Mas- 
sachusetts, when the first settlers of Boston were pre- 
paring for planting a colony on the territory which -the 
following chapters will attempt to describe. 

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E n.a-f a-v'ei i ByTlio Tom \ son3y6« 







Arrival of the Colonists of Boston at Salem, in 1630 • • • Departure from Yar- 
mouth, England, 8 April, 1630...The Humble Bequest •• -Arrival at 
Charlestown • ■ • William Blaxton at Shawmut • • • Death of Isaac Johnson 
at Charlestown • • • Removal of the Colonists to Trimountalne • • • Origin of 
the name of Boston • . ■ Improbable Traditions • • • Scanty Fare and Meagre 
Accommodations • • • Capt. Clap's Account of Hardships • • • Boston in the 
Olden Time on the Peninsula ■ • . The early limits of the Town • • •Pulling 
Point, Rumney Marsh, and Winnisimmet • • • Mount Wollaston, or Merry 
Mount, and Muddy Brook • • • Chelsea incorporated as a Town in 1739, and 
as a City in 1857 • • • North Chelsea incorporated in 1846, and Winthrop in 
1852 ■ ■ • Islands, Dorchester Neck and Point, and Washington Village • • • 
Annexation of Roxbury in 1868, and Dorchester in 1870 • • • Incorporation of 
Roxbury as a Town in 1630, and City in 1846, and Change of Boundary . . ■ 
Incorporation of West Roxbury in 1851 • ■ • Incorporation of Dorchester in 
1630, and Change of Boundary in 1855 • • • Hyde Park incorporated in 1868 • • ■ 
Position of Boston • • ■ Area, Shape and Size of the Peninsula • ■ -Length and 
Breadth of the old Town. 

Ok Saturday, the twelfth day of June, according to 
the old style of reckoning time, and in the year 1630, 
rode into the outer harbor of Salem the Arbella and 
other vessels conveying the first germ of a small town, 
which was destined soon to be the capital of a new 
colony and the metropolis of a great country, 

Mr. John Winthrop, a man of extraordinary strength 
of mind and perseverance, together with other men of 
Idndred spirit, as the leaders of a large company of self- 
exiled colonists, left the land of their birth and childhood. 


their friends, their relatives and ahnost all they held dear, 
and set sail from Yarmouth, in England, on the eighth 
day of April, 1630, to he tossed for many days and 
nights upon the waves of the perilous ocean, to plant 
themselves in trans-atl antic regions on the shores of a 
wild, but free country, to establish a safe resttag-place 
for the oppressed of all nations of the earth. While at 
Yarmouth, the principal men signed on board the Arbella 
that excellent address styled " the Humble Request of 
his Majesty's loyal subjects, the Governor and Company 
late gone for !N'ew England, to the rest of their brethren 
in and of the Church of England, for the obtaiaing of 
their prayer, and the removal of suspicions and miscon- 
structions of their intentions." 

!N^ot intending to remaiu at Salem, where Mr. John 
Endicott and his associates were already seated, a delega- 
tion was sent, on the seventeenth of June, to seek out 
a suitable place for the new comers to commence a settle- 
ment. These visited Charlestown, the Mishawum (in 
Indian dialect " a great spring ") of the aboriginal inhabi- 
tants, where Mr. Thomas Walford and others dwelt, and 
other neighboriug localities previous to their return to 
Salem on the nineteenth, where they reported favorably 
for building at Charlton, as they abbreviated the name, 
which the residents there called Charles Town. By the 
first of July the Arbella had been removed with the 
passengers to this place of their choice; and during the 
month, the greatest part of the fleet that left England 
with Mr. Winthrop had arrived safely into port in the 
present harbor of Boston. 

When the first English resident of Boston, Mr. Wil- 
liam Blaxton (spelled sometimes Blackstone), a retired 
Episcopal clergyman, selected the peninsula for his place 


of abode, it bore the name of Shawmut, given by its 
former inhabitants, Indians of the Massachusetts Bay, 
the appellation signifying ia their dialect " living foun- 

The people of Charlestown very early renounced the 
Indian name of their town; and they also gave to the 
peninsula on the other side of the river, south of them, 
the name of Trimountaiue, iu consequence of the promi- 
nent hill upon it, which had three distinct heads or sum- 
mits. Governor "Winthrop and his company of adven- 
turers did not long remain satisfied with their location 
north of the Charles Eiver, but were soon induced to 
remove to Trimountaiue, at the earnest entreaties of Mr. 
Blaxton, already seated there, who, among other induce- 
ments, told of excellent springs of good water, which 
there abounded. Authority that can be relied upon (a 
writer in the old volume of Charlestown records) says, 
"In the meantime Mr. Blackstone, dwelling on the other 
side of Charles Eiver, alone, at a place by the Indians 
called Shawmutt, where he only had a cottage at, not 
far off, the place called Blackstone's Point, he came and 
acquainted the Governor of an excellent spring there, 
withal inviting him and soliciting him thither. "Where- 
upon, after the death of Mr. Johnson and divers others, 
the governor, with Mr. Wilson and the greatest part of 
the church removed thither; whither also the frame of the 
governor's house, in preparation at this town, was (also 
to the discontent of some) carried when people began to 
build their houses against winter, and this place was 
called Boston." The exact date of removal from Charles- 
town to the peninsula cannot be ascertained. It is 
certain that Mr. Isaac Johnson died at Charlestown on 
the thirtieth of September, 1630, and that a Court of 


Assistants was held at the same place two days previous; 
and it is also known that the first General Court of the 
colony held in Boston was on the nineteenth day of Oc- 
tober, 1630. The Massachusetts Colony Records, under 
date of the twenty-third of August, of the same year, 
give the following : "It was ordered, that there shovld 
be a Court of Assistants helde att the Gou''n" howse 
on the 7th day of Septemb"" nexte, being Tuesday, to 
begin att 8 of the clocke." This meeting was held at 
Charlestown (where it is to be inferred that the Gover- 
nor dwelt) on the appointed day, and then the ever 
memorable order was passed which gave to the penin- 
sula the name it now bears. The exact record which 
chronicles the naming of three important towns is : 
"It is ordered, that Trimountaine shalbe called Boston; 
Mattapan, Dorchester; &the towne vpon Charles Ryuer, 
"Waterton." There is therefore good reason for be- 
lieving that Boston was not settled by the English colo- 
nists until after the month of September, 1630, although 
the town took its present name on the seventh day of 
that month according to the old style, or on the seven- 
teenth according to the new style now in use; and this 
is confirmed by the fact that the Court- was held on the 
twenty-eighth day of September at the Governor's house 
in Charlestown, and by the statement already quoted 
that the removal was not made until after the decease of 
Mr. Johnson, which occurred on the thirtieth. 

It has been stated by many historical writers, that 
the name of Boston was given to the peninsula out of 
respect to Rev. John Cotton, subsequently the beloved 
teacher of the first church established within its limits, 
he having served many years as vicar of St. Botolph's in 
the borough of Boston, in Lincolnshire in England. 


This was not the case : in proof of which we have only 
to call to mind that it was not until the fourth of Sep- 
tember, 1633 (three years after the act of the General 
Court), that the Grriffln, a noble vessel of three hundred 
tons burden, sailed into Boston harbor, bringing Eev. 
John Cotton, and with him a choice freight of aijout 
two hundred individuals, some of whom were the mag- 
nates of the ancient borough of Boston; for Mr. Ather- 
ton Hough had been Mayor of old Boston, and he and 
Mr. Thomas Leverett, afterwards the Euling Elder of 
the church of which Eev. John "Wilson was the pastor, 
and Mr. Cotton the teacher, had surrendered their places 
of aldermanship just before taking their voyage to IN^ew- 
England in Jidy. The true reason for giving the name 
of Boston to the peninsula was undoubtedly in honor of 
Mr. Isaac Johnson, the great friend and supporter of the 
Massachusetts Colony, who came over with "Winthrop in 
1630, and died in Charlestown about three weeks after 
the naming of the town; his wife, the Lady Arbella, 
after whom the principal ship had been named, having 
died at Salem a month previous. Mr. Johnson was from 
Boston in England; and there he made a will in April, 
1628, styling himself of Boston, making bequests to his 
minister and the poor of Boston, and providing that he 
should "be buryed in the church yard of Boston." It 
would be presumptuous to suppose for a moment that 
he meant Boston in ]N"ew England, as he had not at 
the time of executing this instrument resolved to remove 
to America, nor had the name at that time been given to 
the peninsula; nevertheless, this last-mentioned proAdsion 
has been the foundation of improbable traditions that 
have obtained large credence, and which will be alluded 
to hereafter. 


The arrival of Governor Winthrop and his company 
is thus aUuded to in the "IS'ew Englands Memorial," by 
JS'athaniel Morton, Secretary of the Colony of l^ew 
Plymouth, printed in 1669. 

"This Year [1630] it pleased God of his rich grace 
to Transport over into the Bay of the Massachusets 
divers honourable Personages, and many vrorthy Chris- 
tians, whereby the Lord began in a manifest manner and 
way to make known the great thoughts which he had of 
Planting the Gospel in this remote and barbarous Wilder- 
ness, and honouring his own "Way of Instituted "Wor- 
ship, causing such and so many to adhere thereunto, and 
fall upon the practice thereof: Among the rest, a chief 
one amongst them was that famous Patem of Piety and 
Justice Mr. John Winthrop, the first Governour of that 
Jurisdiction, accompanied with divers other precious 
Sons of 8ion, which might be compared to the most fine 
gold. Amongst whom also I might name that Reverend 
and Worthy man, Mr. John Wilson, eminent for Love 
and Zealj he likewise came over this year, and bare a 
great share of the difficulties of these new beginnings 
with great cheerfulness and alacrity of spirit: They 
came over with a Fleet of ten Ships, three of them arriv- 
ing first at Salem, in which several of the chiefest of 
them came, who repaired sundry of them in some short 
time into the Bay of the Massachusets; the other seven 
Ships arrived at Charlestown, when it pleased the Lord 
to exercise them with much sickness, and being destitute 
of housing and shelter, and lying up and down in Booths, 
some of them languished and died: yea, it pleased God 
to take away amongst the rest, that blessed Servant of 
Christ Mr. Isaac Johnson with his Lady, soon after their 
arrival, with sundry other precious Saints. This sick- 


ness being heavy upon them, caused the principal of 
them to propose to the rest to set a day apart to seek 
the Lord for the aswaging of his displeasure therein, as 
also for direction and guidance in the solemn enterprize 
of entering into Church-fellowship; which solemn day of 
Humiliation was observed by all, not onely of themselves, 
but also by their Brethren at PlimoutK in their behalf: 
and the Lord was intreated not onely to asswage the 
sickness, but also encouraged their hearts to a begin- 
ing, and in some short time after to a further progress 
in the great Work of Erecting a way of Worshipping 
Christ in Church-fellowship, according to Primitive In- 

"The first that began in the work of the Lord above- 
mentioned, were their honoured Governour Mr. John 
WirdJirop, Mr. Johnson fore-named, that much honoured 
Gentleman Mr. Thomas Dudley, and Mr. John Wilson 
aforesaid; These four were the first that began that 
honourable Church of Boston, unto whom there joyned 
many others. The same year also Mr. George Philips 
(who was a worthy Servant of Christ, and Dispenser of 
his Word) began a Church-fellowship at Watertown; 
as did also Mr. Maverick and Mr. Wareham at Dorches- 
ter the same year. 

" Thus out of small beginnings greater things have 
been produced by his hand that made all things of noth- 
ing: and as one small Candle may light a thousand; so 
the Light here kindled hath shone unto many, yea in 
some sort to our whole ZS'ation. Let the gloi'ious Name 
of Jehovah have all the praise in all Ages." 

To give the reader somewhat of an idea of the scanty 
fare and meagre accommodations of the first settlers of 
Boston, the brief recital of an account written by an 


early colonist will suffice. Captain Roger Clap, who so 
vividly describes the trials and sufferings of the early 
comers, was of the company that settled at Dorchester 
with those excellent ministers John Warham and John 
Maverick. He set sail with others from Plymouth, in 
England, in the ship Mary and John, on the twentieth 
of March, 1629-30, and after a passage of ten weeks, 
arrived at Hull the thirtieth of May, 1630, about a fort- 
night before Grovemor Winthrop and his fleet reached 
Salem. In this writing, addressed to his children a short 
time before his death, which occurred on the second of 
February, 1690-1, he described the forlorn condition of 
himself and company in the following words, which will 
clearly illustrate the condition of our Boston colonists 
who so soon afterwards went through the same trials : 

" When we came to Nantashet, Capt. 8queb, who was 
Captain of that great Ship of Four Hundred Tons, 
would not bring us into Gharles River, as he was bound 
to do ; , but, put us ashore and our Goods on Nantasket 
Point, and left us to shift for our selves in a forlorn 
Place in this Wilderness. But as it pleased God, we 
got a Boat of some old Planters, and laded her with 
Goods; and some able Men well Armed went in her 
unto Cliarlestown: where we found some Wigwams and 
one House, and in the House -there was a Man which had 
a boiled Bass, but no Bread that we see : but we did eat 
of his Bass, and then went up Charles River, until the 
River grew narrow and shallow, and there we landed 
oxir Goods with much Labour and Toil, the Bank being" 
steep. And ISTight coming on, we were informed that 
there were hard by us Three Hundred Indians: One 
English Man that could speak the Indian Language (an 
old Planter) went to them and advised them not to come 


near us in the Night; and they hearkened to his Coun- 
sel, and came not. I my self was one of the Centinals 
that first ISTight: Our Captain was a Low Country Soul- 
dier, one Mr. Southcot, a brave Souldier. In the Morning 
some of the Indians came and stood at a distance off, 
looking at us, but came not near us : but when they had 
been a whUe in view, some of them came and held out a 
great Bass towards us ; so we sent a Man with a Bisket, 
and changed the Cake for the Bass. Afterwards they 
supplied us with Bass, exchanging a Bass for a Bisket- 
Cake, and were very friendly unto us. 

" Oh Dear Children ! Forget not what Care God had 
over his dear Servants, to watch over us, and protect us 
in our weak beginnings. Capt. 8queb turned ashore Us 
and our Goods, like a mercyless Man; but God, even 
our merciful God, took pity on us; so that we were sup- 
plied, first with a Boat, and then caused many Indians, 
(some Hundreds) to be ruled by the Advice of one Man, 
not to come near us : Alas had they come upon us, how 
soon might they have destroyed us ! I think We were 
not above Ten in I^umber. But God caused the Indi- 
ans to help us with Fish at very cheap Eates. "We had 
not been there many Days, (although by our Diligence 
we had got up a kind of Shelter, to save our Goods in) 
but we had Order to come away from that Place, (which 
was about Watertown) imto a Place called Mattapan 
(now Dorchester) because there was a Neck of Land fit 
to keep our Cattle on: So we removed and came to Mat- 
tapan: The Indians there also were kind unto us. 

" Not long after, came our renowhed & blessed Govern- 
our, and divers of his Assistants with him. Their Ships 
came into Charles Biver, and many Passengers landed 
at Charlestown, many of whom died the Winter follow- 


ing. Govemour Winthrop purposed to set down his 
Station about Cambridge, or somewhere on the Eiver: 
but viewing the Place, liked that plain Neck that was 
called then Black-stones-Neck, now Boston. But in the 
mean time, before they could build at Boston, they lived 
many of them in Tents and "Wigwams at Gharlestown; 
their Meeting- Place berug abroad under a Treej where I 
have heard Mr. Wilson and Mr. Phillips Preach many a 
good Sermon. 

" In those Days God did cause his People to trust in 
him, and to be contented with mean things. It was not 
accounted a strange thing in those Days to drink Water, 
and to eat Samp or .Homine without Butter or MUk. 
Indeed it would have been a strange thing to see a piece 
of Roast Beef, Mutton or Yeal; though it was not long 
before there was Eoast Goat. After the first Winter, 
we were very Healthy; though some of us had no great 
Store of Corn. The Indians did sometimes bring Corn, 
and Truck with us for Cloathing and Knives ; and once 
I had a Peck of Corn or thereabouts, for a Uttle Puppy- 
Dog^ Frost-fish, Muscles and Clams were a Relief to 

In speaking of Boston in the olden time the penin- 
sula alone is intended to constitute the town; and this 
extended from Winnisimmet Ferryways to the Eoxbury 
Line. It should not be forgotten, however, that the 
town had land out of the peninsula. The old records of 
the colony inform us that, on the seventh of !N^ovember, 
1632, it was ordered, "that the necke of land betwixte 
Powder Home Hill & PuUen Poynte shall belonge to 
Boston, to be enioyed by the inhabitants thereof for 
ever." On the fourteenth of May, 1634, "the Coiu-t 
hath ordered, that Boston shall have convenient inlarge- 


m' att Mount Wooliston, to be sett out by foure indif- 
ferent men." On the same day, " it was ffurther ordered, 
that Winetsemet, & the houses there builte & to be 
builte, shall ioyne themselves eith'' to Charlton or Bos- 
ton, as members of that towne, before the neste Gen'aU 
Court." Muddy Eiver, now part of the town of Brook- 
line, was also very early a part of Boston. . Portions of 
these appendages to the town were granted to the early 
inhabitants of the town, a minute of which was kept 
with great exactness upon the town records. 

It may be interesting for some to know that the town 
of Braintree was established on the thirteenth of May, 
1640, and that it included "Moimt "Wollaston," the 
Merry Mount of Thomas" Morton's wild days, or " the 
Mount," as it was generally called in the Boston records ; 
and that Muddy Eiver (or Muddy Brook) was placed 
within the jurisdiction of '^ Newe Towne" on the twenty- 
fifth of September, 1634. Winnisimmet, Eumney Marsh, 
and Pulling Point, were set off from Boston, and incor- 
porated as the town of Chelsea on the ninth of January, 
1738-9, and the territory has since been divided into 
three separate municipalities" — Chelsea, incorporated as 
a city on the thirteenth of March, 1857, ]!!^orth Chelsea as 
a town on the nineteenth of March, 1846,. and "Winthrop 
also as a town on the twenty-seventh of March, 1852. 

Many of the islands of the harbor were very early 
placed under the jurisdiction of the town, and remain so 
to the present day. Dorchester ]N"eck and Point were 
annexed to Boston on the sixth of March, 1804, and 
"Washington Village, formerly a part of Dorchester, on 
the twenty-first of May, 1855. 

By an act of the legislature of the Commonwealth, 
approved by the governor on the first of June, 1867, the 


question of annexation of the city of Eoxbury to Boston 
was submitted to the legal voters of Boston and Eox- 
bury. The act was accepted by the decisive action of 
the voters on the ninth of September, 1867, the vote in 
Boston standing 4,633 yeas against 1,059 nays, and in 
Eoxbury, 1,832 yeas against 592 nays; and the union 
of the two municipalities was consummated on the sixth 
day of January, 1868. On the fourth of June, 1869, the 
governor approved an act to unite the city of Boston 
and the town of Dorchester, and the same was submitted 
for acceptance to the voters on the twenty-second day 
of June following, the result being in Boston, 3,420 
votes in favor of annexation, and 565 against; and in 
Dorchester, 928 votes in favor, and 726 against; and so 
the union was established, to take place on the third of 
January, 1870. 

The town of Eoxbury may be said to have been 
incorporated on the twenty-eighth day of September, 
1630, O. S., when it was first taxed for the support of 
military teachers. It was incorporated as a city by an 
act approved by the governor on the twelfth of March, 
1846, and accepted by the legal voters of the town on 
the twenty-fifth day of the same month, there being 
836 votes for and 192 against the charter. At various 
times its boundary line with Boston was altered and 
established, by acts of the legislature; the most im- 
portant of which were approved on the sixteenth of 
March, 1836, the third of May, 1850, and the sixth of 
April, 1859. The town of "West Eoxbury was set off 
from the City of Eoxbury and incorporated on the 
twenty-fourth of May, 1851. 

Dorchester has the same date of incorporation as 
Boston. By an act of the legislature approved on the 


second of May, 1855, so much of this town as was situ- 
ated on the southeasterly side of JS'eponset Eiver, near 
to and at the place called Squantum, was set off and 
annexed to the town of Quincy. By another act of the 
legislature, approved on the twenty-second day of April, 
1868, a portion of the town was set off to form part of 
the town of Hyde Park, leaving the southerly boundary 
of the town as at present. 

The old geographers tell us that Boston was the shire 
town of Suffolk County and the capital of the Common- 
wealth of Massachusetts; still older ones called it the 
capital of the Province of the Massachusetts-Bay in 
l^ew-England; and our forefathers designated it as the 
place where the governor and company of the colony, 
and subsequently, instead of company, the assistants 
and deputies, held their courts. An old writer, who 
seems to have had much reverence for the neighboring 
college at Cambridge, tells us that the town lies in 
longitude 0° 04' east from the meridian of Cambridge, 
a place where astronomical observations can most easilj 
be made, — a fact which has now become patent, — and 
in latitude 42° 23' north. In using these figures in the 
present instance, our astronomical readers must allow a 
little indulgence, for careful observations had not then 
been made so accurately as to give the nice figures re- 
duced to decimals of seconds, which can be found in the 
books of the observatory of the university at Cambridge. 
The true latitude of Boston is 42° 21' 27.6" north, and 
the longitude 5° 59' 18" east from "Washington, and 71° 
3' 30" west from Greenwich. When it is noon at Bos- 
ton, it is 44' 14 past four o'clock P.M. at Greenwich 
Observatory, and 36 minutes past eleven o'clock A.M. 
at Washington. 


The peninsula selected for the settlement of the party 
that came over in 1630 was smallj containing an area of 
less than one thousand acres, and was very irregular in 
shape. On its north was the MUl Cove, part of the 
Charles Kiver ; on its west was an expansion of the same 
river, forming what was known as the Back Bay, and 
which might with propriety have been called the "West 
Cove; on the south was the township of Eoxbury; and 
on the east the Great Cove and the South Cove, east of 
which was a most convenient harbor that opened by nar- 
row and deep channels into an extensive bay, both of 
which were bounded with excellent highlands fit for the 
sites of innumerable towns, that in time were to be tribu- 
tary to the capital of the colony. 

The length of the town, running north-northeast from 
the Koxbury line to the place early selected for the forti- 
fication on the neck, which was really in the early days 
of the town its entrance, — for the neck land was consid- 
ered only as an appendage to the town, — was about one 
mUe and thirty-nine yards, and the distance thence to the 
Winnisimmet ferry was one mUe and three-quarters and 
one hundred and ninety-nine yards, making the whole 
length of the town about two miles, three-quarters and 
two hundred and thirty-eight yards. 

The breadth of the peninsula, owing to its irregular 
shape, varied much at different places. I^ear the fortifi- 
cation it was very narrow; but proceeding north it 
widened, measuring on the present line of Essex and 
Boylston streets to the water on the west side about 
eleven hundred and twenty-seven yards. From the 
present situation of Foster's wharf, southeast of Fort 
Hill to the northwesterly end of Leverett street, the 
breadth was one mile and one hundred and tliu-ty-nine 


yards. Advancing farther to the northward, and taking 
the measurement from the Old MUl Pond, a few yards 
east of where the church of St. Mary now stands in 
Endicott street, through Cross street to the water on the 
east, it was two hundred and seventy-five yards only in 
breadth. From Charlestown ferry (now Charles River 
Bridge) through Prince street, IsTorth square and Sun 
Court street to the water, the breadth measured seven 
hundred and twenty-sis yards. 



Early Description by William Wood in 1634 • . • Situation of Mount Wollaston, 
Dorchester, and Koxbury • ■ ■ Stony River . • • Boston and Boston Neck . ■ • 
Captain Johnson's Description of Dorchester, Boston and Koxbury in 1654 
. • ■ John Josselyn's Account of the Town in 1675 • ■ • Account by a French 
Protestant Eefligee in 1687 ■ . -The Town • • • Cost of Passage to America . • • 
Scarcity of Laborers ■ . • Products • • • Trade . • • Liberty • • • French Families 
• • . Wild Beasts and Reptiles • ■ • Manners and Behavior of the Colonists. 

Before entering into a particular description of the 
topography of Boston, it may be well to see how it and 
the neighboring towns, Koxbury and Dorchester, both 
of which have been annexed to it, were described by 
some of the earliest of the New-England writers. Mr. 
"William Wood, who was in Lynn, Boston, and perhaps 
in the Plymouth Colony, very early after the first settle- 
ment of the country, thus writes of the town in his 
"IN^ew Englands Prospect," which he styles "a true, 
Uvely, and experimentall description of that part of 
America, commonly called 'New England : discovering the 
state of that Countrie, both as it stands to our new-come 
English Planters; and to the old ISTative Inhabitants. 
Laying downe that which may both enrich the knowledge 
of the mind-travelling Reader, or benefit the future 
Yoyager." Mr. "Wood's books are what book-fanciers 
call in puritan quarto, and were " printed at London by 
Tho. Cotes, for lohn Bellamie, and are to be sold at his 


shop, at the three Golden Lyons in Corne-hill, neere the 
Eoyall Exchange, 1634:" 

"Having described the situation of the countrey in 
generall, with all his commodities arising from land and 
Sea, it may adde to your content and satisfaction to be 
infoi-med of the situation of every severall plantation, 
with his conveniences, commodities, and discommodities, 
&G. where first I will begia with the outmost plantation 
in the patent to the Southward, which is called Wessagu- 
tus, [Wessaguscus, now Weymouth] an Indian name: 
this as yet is but a Small Village, yet it is very pleasant, 
and healthfuU, very good ground, and is well timbred, and 
hath good store of Hey ground; it hath a very spacious 
harbour for shippiag before the towne; the salt water 
being navigable for Boates & Pinnaces two leagues. 
Here the inhabitants have good store of fish of all sorts, 
and Swine, having Acornes and Clamms at the time of 
yeare; here is Ukewise an Alewife river. Three miles 
to the North of this is Moimt Walleston [WoUaston, 
now Quincy], a verry fertile soyle, and a place verry con- 
venient for Farmers houses, there being great store of 
plaine ground, without trees. This place is called 
MassacJiusets fields where the greatest Sagamore in the 
countrey lived before the Plague, who caused it to be 
cleared for himselfe. The greatest inconvenience is, that 
there is not very many Springs, as in other places of the 
countrey, yet water may bee had for digging : a second 
inconvenience is that Boates cannot come in at a low 
water, nor ships ride neare the shore. Sixe miles further 
to the IsTorth, lieth Dorchester; which is the greatest 
Towne in JSTew England; well woodded and watered; 
very good arable grounds and Hay-ground, faire Corne- 
fields, and pleasant G-ardens, with Kitchin-gardcns : In 


this plantation is a great many Cattle, as Kine, Goats, 
and Swine. This plantation hath a reasonable Harbour 
for ships': here is no Alewife-river, which is a great 
inconvenience. The inhabitants of this towne, were the 
first that set upon the trade of fishing in the Bay, who 
received so much fruite of their labours, that they encour- 
aged others to the same undertakings. A mile from this 
Towne lieth Roxberry, which is faire and handsome 
Countrey-towne; the inhabitants of it being all very 
rich. This Towne lieth upon the Maine, so that it is 
well woodded and watered; having a cleare and fresh 
Brooke running through the Towne: Vp which 
although there come no Alewiues, yet there is great store 
of Smelts, and therefore it is called Smelt-brooke. 

" A quarter of a mUe to the I^orth-side of the Towne, 
is another River called Stony-river; upon which is built 
a water-mUne. Here is good ground for Corne, and 
Medow for Cattle : Vp westward from the Towne it is 
something rocky, whence it hath the name of Roxberry; 
the inhabitants have faire houses, store of Cattle, 
impaled Corne-fields, and fruitful! Gardens. Here is no 
Harbour for ships, because the Towne is seated in the 
bottome of a shallow Bay, which is made by the necke 
of land on which Boston is buUt; so that they can trans- 
port all their goods from the Ships in Boats from Boston, 
which is the nearest Harbour. 

" Boston is two miles North-east from Roxberry: His 
situation is very pleasant, being a Peninsula, hem'd in on 
the South-side with the Bay of Roxberry, on the ]S"orth- 
side with Charles-river, the Marshes on the backe-side, 
being not halfe a quarter of a mile over, so that a little 
fencing will secure their Cattle from the Woolues. 
Their greatest wants be "Wood, and Medow-ground, which 


never were in that place; being constrayned to fetch their 
building-timber, and fire-wood from the Hands in Boates, 
and their Hay ia Loyters : It being a necke and bare of 
wood: they are not troubled with three great annoyances, 
of Woolves, Eattle-snakes, and Musketoes. These that 
live here upon their Cattle, must be constrayned to take 
Farmes in the Countrey, or else they cannot subsist; the 
place being too small to containe many, and fittest for 
such as can Trade into England, for such commodities 
as the Countrey wants, being the chiefe place for ship- 
ping and merchandize. 

" This neclce of land is not above foure miles in com- 
passe, in forme almost square, having on the south-side 
at one corner, a great broad hill, whereon is planted a 
Fort, which can command any ship as shee sayles into 
any Harbour within the still Bay. On the N"orth-side is 
another Hill, equall in bignesse, whereon stands a Winde- 
mill. To the IS^orth-west is a high Mountaine with three 
little rising Hils on the top of it, wherefore it is called 
the Tramxmnt. From the top of this Mountaine a man 
may over-looke all the Bands which lie before the Bay, 
and discry such ships as are upon the Sea-coast. This 
Towne although it be neither the greatest, nor the rich- 
est, yet it is the most noted and frequented, being the 
Center of the Plantations where the monthly Courts are 
kept. Here likewise dwells the Governour: This place 
hath very good land, affording rich corne-fields, and 
fruitefuU Gardens ; having likewise sweete and pleasant 
Springs. The inhabitants of this place for their enlarge- 
ment have taken to themselves Farme-houses, in a place 
called Muddy-river, two miles from their Towne; where 
is good ground, large timber, and store of Marsh land, 
and Meadow. In this place they keepe their Swine and 


other Cattle in the Summer, whilst the Come is on the 
ground at Boston, and bring them to the Towne in 

This description of Mr. "Wood should forever put to 
an end the preposterous traditions (so called), about 
buildings erected all over the town, with timber cut and 
hewn upon the spot. If these could be believed, trees 
would have grown in places which in the first days of 
the town were nothing but salt marshes and creeks. 

Capt. Edward Johnson, of Woburn, in his " Wonder 
Working Providence of Sions Saviour, in itfew Eng- 
land," printed at the Angel in Cornhill, 1654, thus de- 
scribes Boston, Dorchester and Eoxbuiy, in giving an 
account of the establishment of the third, fourth, and 
fifth churches in the Massachusetts Colony, the first 
being at Salem, and the second at Charlestown. 

Of the town of Dorchester, where was planted the 
third church of the Massachusetts Colony, he says: 

"The third Church of Christ gathered under this 
Government was at Dorchester, a frontire Town scituated 
very pleasantly both for facing the Sea, and also its 
large extent into the main Land, well watered with two 
small Rivers; neere about this Towne inhabited some 
few ancient Traders, who were not of this select band, but 
came for other ends, as Morton of Merrymount, who 
would fairie have resisted this worke, but the provident 
hand of Christ prevented. The forme of this Towne is 
almost like a Serpent turning her head to the !N'orth- 
ward; over against Tompsons Island, and the Castle, 
her body and wings being chiefly buUt on, are filled 
somewhat thick of Houses, only that one of her Wings 
is dipt, her Tayle being of such a large extent that shee 
can hardly draw it after her; Her Houses for dwelling- 


are about one hundred and forty, Orchards and Gardens 
full of Fruit-trees, plenty of Come-Land, although 
much of it hath been long in tillage, yet hath it ordina- 
rily good crops, the number of Trees are neare upon 
1500. Cowes, and other Cattell of that Mnde about 450. 
Thus hath the Lord been pleased to increase his poore 
dispersed people, whose number in this Flock are neare 
about 150. their first Pastor called to feede them was 
the Reverend, and godly Mr. Maveruck." 

The same writer describes Boston, where the third 
church was established, in the following words : 

" After some little space of time the Church of Christ 
at Charles Town, having their Sabbath assemblies oft- 
enest on the South side of the River, agreed to leave the 
people on that side to themselves, and to provide another 
Pastor for Charles Towne, which accordingly they did. 
So that the fourth Church of Christ issued out of 
Charles Towne, and was seated at Boston, being the Cen- 
ter Towne and Metropolis of this Wildemesse worke (but 
you must not imagirie it to be a Metropolitan Church) 
invironed it is with the Brinish flouds, saving one small 
Istmos, which gives free accesse to the K'eighbour 
Townes ; by Land on the South-side, on the !N^orth-west, 
and !N'orth-east, two constant Faires are kept for daily 
trafiique thereimto, the forme of this Towne is like a 
heart naturally scituated for Fortifications, having two 
Hills on the frontice part thereof next the Sea, the one 
well fortified on the superfices thereof, with store of 
great Artillery well mounted, the other hath a very 
strong battery built of whole Timber, and filled with 
Earth, at the descent of the Hill in the extreme poynt 
thereof, betwixt these two strong arms lies a large Cave 
or Bay, on which the chiefest part of this Town is 


built, over-topped with a third Hill, all three like over- 
topping Towers keepe a constant watch to fore-see the 
approach of forreia dangers, being furnished with a 
Beacon and lowd babling Guns, to give notice by their 
redoubled eccho to all their Sister-townes, the chiefe Edi- 
fice of this City-Uke Towne is crowded on the Sea- 
bankes, and wharfed out with great industry and cost, 
the buildings beautifuU and large, some fairly set forth 
with Brick, Tile, Stone and Slate, and orderly placed 
with comly streets, whose continual! inlargement pre- 
sages some sumptuous City. The wonder of this mod- 
erne Age, that a few yeares should bring forth such great 
matters by so meane a handfall, and they so far from 
being inriched by the spoiles of other I^ations, that the 
states of many of them have beene spoiled by the Lordly 
Prelacy, whose Lands must assm-edly make Restitutions. 
But now behold the admirable Acts of Christ, at this his 
peoples landing, the hideous Thickets in this place were 
such that Wolfes and Beares nurst up their young from 
the eyes of aU beholders, in those very places where the 
streets are full of Girles and Boys, sporting up and 
downe, with a continued concourse of people. Good 
store of Shipping is here yearly built, and some very 
faire ones: both Tar and Mastes the Countrey affords 
from its own soile; also store of YictuaU both for their 
owne and Forreiners-ships, who resort hither for that 
end: this Town is the very Mart of the Land, French, 
Portugalls and Dutch, come hither for Traffique." 

Eoxbury, where he classes the fifth church ia the col- 
ony is thus described by Capt. Johnson : 

" The fift Church of Christ was gathei-ed at Box^ry, 
scituated between Boston and Dorchester, being well 
watered with coole and pleasant Springs issuino- forth 


the Eocky-hills, and with small Freshets, watering the 
Yallies of this fertill Towne, whose forme is somewhat 
like a wedge double pointed, entering betweene the two 
foure named Townes [Dorchester and Boston], filled 
with a very laborious people, whose labours the Lord 
hath so blest, that in the roome of dismall Swampes and 
tearing Bushes, they have very goodly Fruit-trees, fruit- 
full Fields and Gardens, their Heard of Cowes, Oxen 
and other young Cattell of that kind about 350. and 
dwelling-houses neere upon 120. their streetes are 
large, and some fayre Houses, yet have they built their 
House for Church-assembly, destitute and unbeautified 
with- other buildings. The Church of Christ here is in- 
creased to about 120. persons, their first Teaching Elder 
called to Oflice is Mr. JEliot a yong man, at his com- 
ming thither of a cheerfuU spirit, walking unblameable, 
of a godly conversation, apt to teach, as by his indefati- 
gable paiaes both with his own flock, and the poore 
Indians doth appeare, whose Language he learned pur- 
posely to helpe them to the knowledge of God in Christ, 
frequently Preaching in their Wigwams, and Catechiz- 
ing their Children." 

John Josselyn, gent., who visited New England 
about two hundred years ago, on his return to Eng- 
land wrote an account of his two voyages, which were 
published at the Green Dragon in St. Paul's church- 
yard, London, in 1675. He compiled largely from 
Johnson's description of the town, and added a few 
interesting particulars, from which the following is 
extracted: "The houses are for the most part raised 
on the sea-banks and wharfed out with great industry 
and cost, many of them standing upon piles, close 
together on each side of the streets as in London, 


and furnished with many fair shops, their materials are 
Brick, Stone, Lime, handsomely contrived, with three 
meeting Houses or Churches, and a Town-house 
built upon pillars where the merchants may con- 
fer, in the Chambers above they keep their monthly 
Courts. Their streets are many and large, paved with 
pebble stone, and the South-side adorned with Gardens 
and Orchards. The Town is rich and very populous, 
much frequented by strangers, here is the dwelling of 
their Governour. On the ]!!^orth-west and ]^orth-east 
two constant Faires are kept for daily Traffick there- 
unto. On the South there is a small but pleasant Com- 
mon, where the Gallants a little before Sunset walk with 
their Marmalet-Madaias, as we do in Mborjields, &c., 
till the nine a clock Bell rings them home to their re- 
spective habitations, when presently the Constables walk 
their rounds to see good orders kept, and to take up 
loose people. Two miles from the town at a place called 
Muddy-River, the Inhabitants have Farms, to which be- 
long rich arable grounds and meadows where they keep 
their Cattle in the Summer, and bring them to Boston in 
the Winter- the Harbour before the Town is filled with 
Ships and other Vessels for most part of the year." 

A very interesting tract in the manuscript collections 
of Antoine Court, preserved in the Library of Geneva, 
and published in a magazine in February, 1867, contains 
very interesting particulars relating to Boston in 1687. 
It was written by a French Protestant refugee, who it 
appears set out for America two years after the Eevoca- 
tion of the Edict of ISTantes, and arrived in Boston on 
the seventeenth of October of that year, for the purpose 
of collecting information to guide his fellow-refugees in 
a proposed plan of settlement in America. Mr. J.%^. 


Brevoort, of Brooklyn, caused an edition of one hun- 
dred and twenty-five copies of a translation by Mr. E. T. 
Fisher to be printed for distribution among his literary 
correspondents. Although the name of the author is 
unknown, it is evident the tract was written by an intel- 
ligent and observing person, a native of Languedoc. 
The following abstracts are given in the language of the 
translator. He describes the town, on his arrival, thus : 
"We sighted Cape Coot [Cod], which is twenty 
Leagues from Boston towards the South, and on the 
Morrow we arrived at Boston, after having fallen in with 
a I>rumber of very pretty Islands that lie in Front of 
Boston, most of them cultivated and inhabited by Peas- 
ants, which form a very fine View. Boston is situated 
at the Head of a Bay possibly three or four Leagues in 
Circumference, shut in by the Islands of which I have 
told you. Whatever may be the "Weather, Vessels lie 
there in Safety. The Town is built on the Slope of a lit- 
tle Hill, and is as large as La Rochelle. The Town and 
the Land outside are not more than three MUes in Cir- 
cuit, for it is almost an Island; it would only be necessary 
to cut through a "Width of three hundred Paces, all Sand, 
which in less than twice twenty-four Hours would make 
Boston an Island washed on all Sides by the Sea. The 
Town is almost wholly built of wooden Houses ; but 
since there have been some ravages by Fire, building of 
Wood is no longer allowed, so that at this present 
writing very handsome Houses of Brick are going up. 
I ought to have told you, at the Beginning of this Arti- 
cle, that you pay in London for Passage here twenty 
Crowns [2s. 6d. each], and twenty-four if you prefer to 
pay in Boston, so that it is better to pay here than in 
London; you have one Crown over, since one hundred 


Pounds at London, are equal to one hundred and twentj- 
five here, so that the twenty Crowns one must pay at 
London are twenty-five Crowns here, by Reason of the 
twenty-five per cent., and twenty-four is all one has to 
pay here; this Increase in the Yalue of Money is a great 
Help to the poor Refugees, should they bring any." 

He describes the scarcity of laborers, and the kind 
that can be procured as follows : 

"You can bring with you hired Help in any Voca- 
tion whatever; there is an absolute !N^eed'of them to till 
the Land. You may also own liTegroes and IS^egresses ; 
there is not a House in Boston, however small may be 
its Means, that has not one or two. There are those 
that have five or six, and all make a good Living. Yoii 
employ Savages to work your Fields, in Consideration 
of one Shilling and a half a Day and Board, which is 
eighteen Pence; it being always understood that you 
must provide them with Beasts or Utensils for Labor. 
It is better to have hired Men to till your Land. 'Ne- 
groes cost from twenty to forty Pistoles [the Pistole 
was then worth about ten Francs], according as they 
are skilful or robust; there is no Danger that they will 
leave you, nor hired Help likewise, for the Moment one 
is missing from the Town, you have only to notify the 
Savages, who provided you promise them Something, and 
describe the Man to them, he is right soon found. But 
it happens rarely that they quit you, for they would know 
not where to go, there being few trodden Roads, and those 
which are trodden lead to English Towns or Tillages, 
which, on your writing, will immediately send back your 
Men. There are Ship-captains who might take them 
off; but that is open Larceny and would be rigorously 
punished. Houses of Brick and Frame can be built 


cheaply, as regards Materials, but the Labor of 'Work- 
men is very dear; a Man cannot be got to work for less 
than twenty-four Pence a Day and found." 

Concerning the products of the country, he is some- 
what more careful in his remarks than previous writers, 
and says: 

"Pasturage abounds here. Tou can raise every 
Kind of Cattle, which thrive well. An Ox costs from 
twelve to fifteen Crowns; a Cow, eight to ten; Horses, 
from ten to fifty Crowns, and in Plenty. There are 
even wild ones in the "Woods, which are yours if you can 
catch them. Foals are sometimes caught. Beef costs 
two Pence the Pound; Mutton, two Pence; Pork from 
two to three Pence, according to the Season; Flour 
fourteen Shillings the one hundred and twelve Pound, 
all bolted; Fish is very cheap, and Yegetables also; 
Cabbage, Turnips, Onions and Carrots abound here. 
Moreover, there are Quantities of I^uts, Chestnuts, and 
Hazelnuts wild. These ISTuts are small, but of wonder- 
ful Flavor. I have been told that there are other Sorts 
which we shall see in the Season. I am assured that 
the Woods are full of Strawberries in their Season. I 
have seen Quantities of wild Grapevine, and eaten 
Grapes of very good Flavor, kept by one of my Friends. 
There is no Doubt that the Yine will do very well; there 
is some little planted in the Country, which has grown. 
" The Rivers are full of Fish, and we have so great a 
Quantity of Sea and River Fish that no Account is made 
of them. There are here Craftsmen of every kind, and 
jjarticularly Carpenters for the building of Ships. The 
Day after my Arrival, I saw them put into the Water 
one of three hundred Tons, and since, they have 
launched two others somewhat smaller. This Town 


carries on a great Trade with the Islands of America 
and with Spain. They carry to the Islands Flonr, Salt 
Beef, Salt Pork, Cod, Staves, Salt Salmon, Salt Mack- 
erel, Onions, and Oysters salted in Barrels, great Quan- 
tities of which are taken here; and for their Return they 
bring Sugar, Cotton "Wood, Molasses, Indigo, Sago 
IManihot utilissima] and Pieces of * * * * In 
the Trade with Spain, they carry only dried Fish, which 
is to be had here at eight to twelve Shillings the Quintal, 
according to Quality: the Return Cargo is in Oils, 
"Wine and Brandy, and other Merchandise which comes 
by Way of London, for Ifothing can be imported 
here, coming from a foreign Port, unless it has first been 
to London and paid the half Duty, after which it can be 
transported here, where for aU Duty one-half per cent is 
paid for Importation, since Merchandise for Exporta- 
tion pays ]N"othing at all." 

According to the testimony of this writer it appears 
that the same liberty was granted to travellers as now. 
" One can come to this Country," he says, " and return 
the same as in Europe. There is the greatest Liberty, 
and you may live without any Constraint." But it was 
necessary that those who desired to carry on business 
should be naturalized in London before coming to 

The number of French Protestants is mentioned as 
very small. 

"Here in Boston there are not more than twenty 
French Families, and they are every Day diminishing, 
on Account of departing for the Country to buy or hire 
Land and to thrive to make some Settlement. They are 
expected this Spring from all Quarters. Two young 
Men have lately arrived from Carolina, who give some 


!N'ew8 of that Country; especially they say they never 
saw so miserable a Country, and so unhealthful a Cli- 
mate. They have Fevers there during the whole Year, 
such as that those attacked rarely recover; and if there be 
some who escape their Effect, they become all leather- 
colored, as are these two who have arrived, who are Ob- 
jects of Compassion." 

Another rateresting subject he speaks of in the fol- 
lowing manner : 

" As for wild Beasts, we have here plenty of Bears, 
and "Wolves in great ^Number who commit Ravages 
among the Sheep, if good Precautions are not taken. 
We also have here plenty of Rattlesnakes, but they have 
not yet showed themselves. I have seen only some small 
Snakes of three Inches [around?] and long in Propor- 
tion; there are a great many, for they are to be seen 
seven or eight together. All these Animals flee from 
Man, and it doth not seem that they harm anybody." 

Of the colonists, he speaks less flatteruigly, and in a 
way that would leave a very unfavoralble impression of 
their manners and behavior: 

"The English," he writes, "who inhabit these Coun- 
tries are as elsewhere, good and bad; but one sees more 
of the Latter than the Former, and to state the Case to 
you in a few Words, there are here of all Muds, and con- 
sequently of every Kind of Life and Manners; not that 
disputing and quarreling are common with them, but 
they do not lead good Lives. There are those who 
practice no Formality of Marriage except joining Hands, 
and so live in Common; others who are sixty Years of 
Age and are not yet baptized, because they are not Mem- 
bers [of the Church]. It is about a Month since they 
baptized in our Church a Woman of forty-five and five 


of her Children. Her eldest might have been sixteen 
Years old; the Presbyterians would not baptize her 
because she had not become a Member [of the Church] ." 
Such was the appearance of Boston in its earliest 
days, as given by writers whose statements are the most 
worthy of reliance. As the town increased in age, in the 
number of its inhabitants, and in its resources, changes 
necessarily took place, a description of which will be 
attempted in succeeding chapters. 



Ancient Description of Boston and its Inhabitants, by Edward Ward, in 1699 
■ ■ • The High street, four Meeting Houses, Religious Character of the Peo- 
ple, and Holidays • • ■ Forbidden Things, and Penalty for Kissing ; Drunl^en- 
uess and Profanity ... A Cudgel in the Dark • . • Boston Women in 1699 ■ . - 
The old Town Pump • • . Boston Factors Scandalized • ... Purchase of Boston 
• • . Comments on the Libellous Ward • • • John Dunton's Life and Errors 
in 1686, Printed in 1705 • . • Daniel Neal's Account of Boston in 1719 . . • Situ- 
ation of the Town • • . The Bay of Boston . . . The Pier . ■ • Form of the Town 
. ■ • Population • ■ • Places of Public Worship • . • Polite Conversation, etc., of 
the People ■ • • Trade and Commerce . • • Account by Jeremy Dummer, in 
1721... Boston in 1787. 

In 1699, a curious and somewhat free-writing Eng- 
lishman published an account of his "Trip to 'New 
England," wherein he gave a very curious description of 
Boston, which, notwithstanding its ridiculous cockney- 
ism, wUl be found to contain some considerable smart- 
ness, and will certainly give a good idea of the standing 
our forefathers had in the estimation of those who were 
more worldly-minded if not less religiously inclined. Mr. 
Edward Ward, the Londoner, wrote thus of our good 
old town: 

"On the south-west side of Massachusets-Bay, is 
Boston 5 whose I^ame is taken from a Town in Lincoln- 
shire: And is the Metropolis of all N'ew-England. The 
Houses in some parts joyn as in London. The Buildings, 
like their Women, being ]S"eat and Handsome. And 


their Streets, like the Hearts of the Male Inhabitants, 
are Paved with Pebble. 

"In the Chief, or high Street, there are stately Edi- 
fices, some of which have cost the owners two or three 
Thousand Pounds the raising; which, I think, plainly 
proves Two old Adages true, viz: That a Fool and his 
Money is soon parted; and, set a Beggar on Horse-back 
he'U Eide to the DevU; for the Fathers of these Men 
were Tinkers and Peddlers. 

"To the Glory of Religion, and the Credit of the 
Town, there are four Churches, built with Clap-boards 
and ShiQgles, after the Fashion of our Meeting-houses ; 
which are supply'd by four Ministers, to whom some, 
very justly, have apply'd these Epitliites, one a Scholar, 
the Second a Gentleman, the Third a Dunce, and the 
Fourth a Clown. 

"Their Churches are Independent, every Congrega- 
tion, or Assembly, in Ecclesiastical Affairs, being dis- 
tinctly Govern'd by their own Elders and Deacons, who 
in their Turns set the Psalms; and the former are as 
busie on Sundays, to excite the People to a Liberal Con- 
tribution, as our Church- Wardens at Easter and Christ- 
mas, are with their Dishes, to make a Collection for the 

"Every Stranger is unavoidably forc'd to take this 
I^otice, That in Boston, there are more Religious Zea- 
lots than Honest-men, more Parsons than Churches, and 
more Churches than Parishes : For the Town, unlike the 
People, is subject to no Division. 

" The Inhabitants seem very Religious, showing many 
outward and visible Signs of an inward and Spiritual 
Grace : But tho' they wear in their Faces the Innocence 
of Doves, you wiU find them in their Dealings, as Subtile 


as Serpents. Interest is their Faith, Money then- God 
and Large Possessions the only Heaven they covet. 

"Election, Commencement, and Training-days, are 
their only Holy-days; they keep no Saints-Days, nor 
will they allow the Apostles to be Saints, yet they assume 
that Sacred Dignity to themselves; and say, in the Title 
Page of their Psalm-Book, Printed for the Edification 
of the Saints in Old and 'New England." 

This waiter very sorely scandalized not only the clergy 
.and the traders, but also the good women, both young 
and old, and the people generally. A few more quota- 
tions from this writer will do. 

"If you Kis& a "Woman in Publick, tho' offer'd as a 
Courteous Salutation, if any Information is given to the 
Select Members, both shall be "Whip'd or Fin'd. But 
the good humor'd Lasses, to make you amends, will Kiss 
the Kinder in a Comer. A Captain of a Ship who had 
been a long Voyage, happen'd to meet his Wife, and 
Kist her in the Street; for which he was Fin'd Ten Shil- 
lings, and forc'd to pay the Money. Another Inhabitant 
of the Town was fin'd Ten Shillings for Kissing his own 
wife in his Garden; and obstinately refusiag to pay the 
Money, endured Twenty Lashes at the Gun. And at 
this rate one of the delightfulest Customs in the World 
wiU in time be quite thrown out of Fashion, to the Old 
Folk satisfaction, but to the Young ones Lamentattion, 
who love it as well in N'ew-England, as we do in the 

" Every Tenth man is chose as one of the Select, who 
have- power, together, to Eegulate and Punish all Disor- 
ders that happen in their several ]S"eighbour-hoods. The 
Penalty for Drunkenness, is whipping or a Crown; Curs- 
ing or Swearing, the same Fine, or to be bor'd thro' the 


tongue with a hot iron: But get your Select Member 
into your Company and Treat Mm, and you may do 
either without offence; and be as safe as a Parishoner 
here in a Tavern in the Church- Wardens Company in 

" They are very busie in detecting one another's fail- 
ings; and he is accounted, by their Church Groverners, 
a Meritorious Christian, that betrays his Ifeighbour to a 

" A good cudgel apply'd in the Dark, is an excellent 
Medicine for a Malignant Spirit. I knew it once Ex- 
perienced at Boston, with a very good success, upon an 
Old Rigged Precisian, one of their Select, who used to 
be more then ordinary vigilant in discovering every little 
Irregularity in the ]!!^eighbourhood; I happening one 
JSTight to be pritty Merry with a Friend, opposite to the 
Zealots dwelling, who got out of his Bed in his Wast- 
coat and Drawers, to listen at our Window. My Friend 
having oft been serv'd so, had left unbolted his Cellar 
Trap-door, as a Pit-faU for Mr. Busie-Body, who step- 
ping upon it, sunk down with an Outcry like a distressed 
Mariner in a sinking Pinnace. My Friend having 
planted a Cudgel ready, run down Stairs, crying 
Thieves, and belabour'd Old Troublesome very sevearly 
before he would know him. He crying out I am your 
JSTeighbour. You Lye, you Lye, you Rogue, says my 
Friend, my IN'eighbours are Honest Men, you are some 
Thief come to Rob my House. By this time I went 
down with a -Candle, my Friend seeming wonderftiUy 
surpriz'd to see 'twas his [tsTeighbour, and one of the 
Select too, put on a Counterfeit Countenance, and 
heartily beg'd his Pardon. Away troop'd the Old Fox, 
Grumbling and Shruging up his Shoulders ; and became 


afterwards the most Moderate Man in Authority in the 
whole Town of Boston. 

'■ A little Pains sometimes do good 
To such Cross Knotty Sticks of "Wood. 
Correction is the best Keceipt, 
To set a Crooked Temper Streight. 
If such Old Stubborn Boughs can Bend, 
And from a just Chastisment mend, 
Tond Parents pray asign a Reason, 
Why Youth should want it in due Season. 

" The "Women here, are not at all inferiour in Beauty 
to the Ladies of London, having rather the Advantage of 
a better Complexion; but as for the Men, they are gen- 
erally Meagre; and have got the Hypocritical Kjiack, 
like our English Jews, of screwing their Faces, into 
such Puritanical postures that you would think they 
were always Praying to themselves, or running melan- 
choly Mad about some Mistery in the Eevelations; so 
that 'tis rare to see a handsome Man in the Country, for 
they have all one Cast, but of what Tribe I know not. 

" The Gravity and Piety of their looks, are of great 
Service to these American Christians : It makes strangers 
that come amongst them, give credit to their ^ords. 
And it is a Proverb with those that know them. Who- 
soever believes a ]S"ew-England Saint, shall be sure to 
be Cheated : And he that Knows how to deal with their 
Traders, may deal with the Devil and fear no Craft. 

"I was mightily pleas'd one Morning with a Conten- 
tion between two Boys at a Pump in Boston, about who 
should draw their "Water first. One Jostled the other 
from the Handle, and he would fill his Bucket first, 
because his Master said Prayers and sung Psalms twice 
a Day in his Family, and the other Master did nof. To 


which the Witty Knave made this reply, Our House 
stands backward in a Court; if my Master had a Room 
next the Street, as your Master has, he'd Pray twice to 
your Masters once, that he wou'd, and therefore I'll fill 
my paU first, Marry wiU I, and did accordingly." 

This last anecdote evidently refers to the Old Town 
Pump which ia the olden trtne stood ia the middle of 
Washington street, a few yards north of the head of Court 
street. If the reader will bear with two more short 
quotations from this absurd traveller, we wiU leave him 
to his former unknown and unappreciated existence. 
He thus vilified our honest traders and the worthy first 
settlers of the town: 

" Some Years Ago, when the Factors at Boston were 
credited with large Stocks by our English Merchants, 
and being backward in their Returns, and more in their 
Books than they were willing to satisfie, contriv'd this 
Stratagem to out-wit their Correspondents. As 'tis said, 
They set Fire to their Ware-houses, after the disposal oi 
their Goods, and Burnt them down to the Groimd, pre- 
tending in theu' Letters, they were all undone, their Car- 
gos and Books all destroy'd; and so at once Ballanc'd 
their Accounts with England." 

The last quotation, it wiU be perceived, is much the 
worst of his numerous scandalous statements; and it 
would have been omitted here, as many others of too 
gross a character for the readers of the present day have 
been, were it not that it refers so pointedly to the 
first possession of the peninsula by Europeans. There 
is no reason whatever for the assertion which follows : 

" The Ground upon which Boston (the Metropolis of 
New-England) stands, was purchas'd from the ]S"ative8, 
by the first English Proprietors, for a Bushel of Wam- 


pum-peag and a Bottle of Rum, being of an inconsider- 
able Value. Therefore the Converted Indians, (who 
have the use of the Scriptures) cannot blame Esau for 
selling his Birth-right for a mess of Porrage." 

Edward Ward, the author so largely quoted from, was 
the first of a numerous list of Londoners who have vis- 
ited ^ew England for the purpose of traducing its in- 
habitants,, and casting ridicule upon its customs and 
practices. From such persons have been transmitted 
the false traditions of our ancestry which are met with 
so frequently by historical inquirers. The good that 
this class of writers give should be thankfully received, 
for the false can be easily disproved. The laws alluded 
to in the above extracts are partly falsifications, and* 
partly exaggerations. The incident at the old town 
pump was undoubtedly a stretch of the author's imagi- 
nation. The great fires which had taken place previous 
to his visit happened during the years 1653, 1676, 1679, 
1683, 1690, and 1691 ; and none of them could be attrib- 
uted to the causes assigned by him. The four clergy- 
men alluded to were probably Rev. Benjamin Wads- 
worth of the first church, Rev. Cotton Mather of the 
second church (old north), Rev. Samuel Willard, of 
the third church (old south), and Rev. Samuel Myles, 
rector of the episcopal church (king's chapel) ; neither 
of whom were entitled to be called clowns or dunces, as 
all of them were gentlemen and scholars. 

During the first century of the settlement of the town, 
many tourists who visited the place have given journals 
to the public. Among these were John Dunton, a Lon- 
don bookseller, and author, who was here in the year 
1686, and who published a book entitled his "Life and 
Errors," printed in London in 1705. In 1867, letters 


by this same author, embodying his " Life and Errors," 
were edited by Wm. H. Whitmore, of Boston, and a 
small edition of two hundred and ten copies printed for 
subscribers and others. Several pag,es of these works 
are given to pleasant personal reminiscences, and mention 
of Boston families, written entirely in a different manner 
from those of Mr. Ward. As these contain very little 
especially relating to the topography of the town, which 
is not compiled from Josselyn and other writers, but are 
more particularly given to allusion to persons, they are 
passed by at this time. 

The following description of the town was written by 
Daniel !N^eal, in the year 1719, and shows how much of 
a change occurred in about twenty years. As it is very 
nearly cotemporaneous with Bonner's plan of the town, 
the first printed map of Boston, it may be considered 
particularly valuable in connection therewith. Speaking 
of Suffolk county, he says : 

" The Capital of this County, and of all New-England 
is Boston, which according to the exact Calculation of 
Thomas Brattle, Esq; is 71 Degrees West from Lon- 
don, Latitude 42 Degrees 24 ]S"orth, Variation of the 
Needle, nearest 9 Degrees West. 'Tis pleasantly 
situated in a Peninsula about four Miles in Compass 
at the Bottom of a fine Bay, guarded from the Rough- 
ness of the Ocean by several Rocks appearmg above 
Water; and by above a Dozen Islands, many of which 
are inhabited, and one called Nottles- Island, within these 
few years was esteemed worth 2 or 300 I. per Ann. to 
the Owner Colonel Shrimpton; there is but one common 
and safe Passage into the Bay, and that not very broad, 
there being hardly Room for three Ships to come in, 
board and board at a tune, but being once in, there is 


Eoom for the Anchorage of 500 Sail. The most remark- 
able of these Islands is called Castle-Island, from the 
Castle that is buUt in it; it stands about a League from 
the Town upon the main Channel leading to it, and is so 
conveniently situated, that no Ship of Burthen can ap- 
proach the Town without the Hazard of being torn in 
Pieces by its Cannon." After giving a description of 
the fortifications upon Castle Island, Mr. ]S"eal proceeds 
as follows, " But to prevent any possible Surprize from 
an Enemy, there is a Light-house built on a Rock, ap- 
pearing above Water about two long Leagues from the 
Town which in Time of War makes a signal to the 
Castle, and the Castle to the Town by hoisting and 
lowering the Union-Flag, so many Times as there are 
Ships approaching, which if they exceed a certain JS'um- 
ber, the Castle fires three Guns to alarm the Town of 
Boston, and the Governor, if need be, orders a Beacon 
to be fired, which alarms all the adjacent Countrey; so 
that unless an Enemy can be supposed to sail by so 
many Islands and Rocks in a Fog, the Town of Boston 
must have six or more Hours to prepare for their Re- 
ception ; but supposing they might pass the Castle, there 
are two Batteries at the IS^orth and South Ends of the 
Town, which command the whole Bay, and make it im- 
possible for an Enemy's Ship of Burthen to ride there in 
safety, while the Merchantmen and small Craft may 
retire up into Charles River, out of reach of their 

" The Bay of Boston is spacious enough to contain 
in a manner the !N"avy of England. The Masts of Ships 
here, and at proper Seasons of the Year, make a kind of 
Wood of Trees like that we see upon the River of 
Thames about Wapjnng and Limehouse, which may 


easily be imagined when we consider, that by Computa- 
tion given in to the Collectors of his Majesty's Customs 
to the Governor upon the building of the Light-house, 
it appeared that there was 24000 Ton of Shipping 
cleared annually. 

"At the Bottom of the Bay is a noble Pier, 1800 or 
2000 Foot long, with a Row of "Ware-houses on the 
J^orth Side, for the Use of Merchants. . The Pier runs 
so far into the Bay, that Ships of the greatest Burthen 
may unlade without the Help of Boats or Lighters. 
From the Head of the Pier you go up the, chief Street 
of the Town, at the Upper End of which is the Town 
House or Exchange, a fine piece of BuUding, containing, 
besides the Walk for the Merchants, the Council Cham- 
ber, the House of Commons, and another spacious Room 
for the Sessions of the Courts of Justice. The Exchange 
is surrounded with Booksellers Shops, wMch have a 
good Trade. There are five Printing-Presses in Boston, 
which are generally full of Work, by which it appears, 
that Humanity and the KJnowledge of Letters flourish 
more here than in aU the other English Plantations piit 
together; for in the City of New-YoiTc there is but one 
Bookseller's Shop, and in the Plantations of Virginia, 
Maryland, Carolina, JBarhadoes, and the Islands, none 
at all. 

"The Town of Boston lies in the Form of a half Moon 
round the Harbour, the surrounding Shore being high, 
and affording a very agreeable Prospect. A considera- 
ble Part of the Peninsula upon which the Town stands, 
is not yet built upon, as the Reader will observe by the 
Map [a small plan of the vicinity and harbor 3 1-4 by 3 
inches] ; but yet there are at present twenty-two Allies, 
thirty-six Lanes, forty-two Streets, and in all together 


about three thousand Houses, several of which for the 
Beauty of the Buildings may compare with most in 
the City of London. The Town is well paved, and sev- 
eral of the Streets as wide and spacious as can be 

After computing the number of inhabitants of Boston 
to be about 20,000, he remarks, "Whence it appears, that 
the Town is considerably increased within these last ten 
or twelve Years j for the late ingenious Tho. Brattle, 
Esq; whose MS. Observations are now before me, says, 
that in the Year 1708 the JSTumber of Inhabitants did 
not amount to above 12 or 13,000 Souls. He further 
adds, that the 'Militia of the Town consisted then of 
eight Companies of Foot, of about 150 or 160 in a Com- 
pany, and one Troop of Horse ; but the Inhabitants being 
since increased above a third Part, their MUitia must 
now amount to near 2000 Men." 

Mr. ^N^eal then mentions the places of public worship, 
ten in number, viz : the Old Church, whereof Rev. Ben- 
jamin Wadsworth and Rev. Thomas Foxcroft, ^^Brown- 
ists/^ were pastors ; the IS'orth Church, Doctors Increase 
and Cotton Mather, pastors; the South Church, Rev. 
Joseph Sewall and Rev. Thomas Prince, pastors; the 
Church in Brattle street. Rev. Benjamin Colman and 
Rev. "William Cooper, '' Breslyterians," pastors; the 
New !N^orth, Rev. John Webb, pastor, and the New 
South, Rev. Samuel ChecMey, pastor. Besides these 
were one Episcopal Church, one French, one Anabap- 
tist, and one congregation of Quakers. 

Mr. Neal further remarks, " The Conversation in this 

Town is as polite as in most of the Cities and Towns in 

England; many of their Merchants having travelled into 

' Europe; and those that stay at home having the Advan- 


tage of a free Conversation with Travellers; so that a 
Gentleman from London would ahnost think himself at 
home at Boston, when he observes the ISTumbers of Peo- 
ple, their houses, their Furniture, their Tables, then- 
Dress and Conversation, which perhaps is as splendid 
and showy, as that of the most considerable Tradesmen 
in London. 

" Upon the whole, Boston is the most flourishing 
Town for Trade and Commerce in the Lnglish Amenca; 
here the Governor commonly resides, the General Court 
and Assembly meet, the Courts of Judicature sit, and 
the Affairs of the whole Province are transacted; 'tis the 
best Port in Nem-Lngland, from whence 3 or 400 Sail 
of Ships, Ketches, Brigantines, «fec. are laden every Year 
with Lumber, Beef, Pork, Pish, &c. for several Parts 
of Europe and America." 

In the year 1721 Jeremy Dummer, the Massachusetts 
agent to England, wrote a similar accpunt of the town, 
in which the writiags of Mr. IS'eal were largely used. 

A good idea of the town as it was in the year 1787, 
nearly seventy years later than Ideal's account, will be 
found in the following, published at Philadelphia in the 
Columbian Magazine : 

" Boston, the metropoHs of Massachusetts Bay, in 
'New England, is one of the largest and most flourish- 
ing towns in J^orth America. It is situated upon a 
peninsula, or rather an island, joined to the continent by 
an isthmus, or narrow neck of land, half a mUe in length, 
at the bottom of a spacious and noble harbour, defended 
from the sea by a number of small islands. The length 
of it is nearly two miles, and the breadth of it half a one; 
and it is supposed to contain 3000 houses, and 18 or 
20,000 inhabitants. At the entrance of the harboiir 


Stands a very good lighthouse; and upon an island, 
about a league from the town, a considerable castle, 
mounting near 150 cannon. There are several good 
batteries about it, and one in particular very strong, 
built by Mr. Shirley. There are also two batteries in 
the town, for 16 or 20 guns each, but they are not, 
I believe, of any force. The buildings in Boston are 
in general good, the streets are open, spacious and 
well paved. The country round about it is exceed- 
ingly delightful; and from a hill, which stands close 
to the town, where there is a beacon erected to alarm 
the neighbourhood in case of any surprise, is one of the 
finest prospects, the most beautifully variegated, and 
richly grouped, of any, without exception, that I have 
ever seen. 

" The chief public buildings are three churches ; thir- 
teen or fourteen meeting houses; the governor's palace; 
the cour|; house, or exchange; Faneuil-hall; a linen 
manufacturing house; a workhouse ; a bridewell ; a public 
granary; and a very fine wharf, at least half a mile long, 
undertaken at the expense of a number of private gentle- 
men, for the advantage of unloading and loading ves- 
sels. Most of these buildings are handsome; the church 
called King's Chapel, is exceedingly elegant, and fitted 
up in the Corinthian taste. . There is also an elegant 
private concert-room, highly finished, in the Ionic 

" Arts and sciences seem to have made a gi'eater pro- 
gress here, than in any other part of America. The arts 
are undeniably much forwarder in Massachusetts-bay, 
than either in Pennsylvania or l^ew York. The public 
buildings are more elegant;" and there is a more general 
turn for music, painting, and the belles-lettres." 



This chapter waS commenced with a description of 
the town, and some of the customs and habits of its res- 
idents, by an Englishman who had great reluctance to 
notice any good in our peculiar institutions. It is pro- 
posed in the next chapter to present a better picture of 
the same as viewed by another foreign writer, a French- 
man. These accounts, being cotemporaneous with 
their dates, give a better idea of Boston as it existed 
in days that are past than can any traditionary rela- 



Descriptive Account of Boston by the Abb6 Robin in 1781 . . • Appearance of 
the Town, and the Construction of the Houses ■ . . Removal of Wooden 
Houses . . . Number of Houses, Meeting-houses, and Inhabitants . • ■ Obser- 
vance of the Sabbath • • . Style of building Religious Edifices • • • Ceremonies 
of the Quakers • • • Appearance of the Women • • • Attendance at Meetings • ■ • 
Situation of Boston . • • Ruins of Charlestown • • ■ Boston Harbor • • • Com- 
merce and Fisheries • • • Rum, Wine and Brandy ■ • • Exportation of Lumber 
and Sugar • • • Irish Presbyterians • • • University at Cambridge. 

When the Count de Kochambeau was sent in 1780 
from France with six thousand men to the assistance of 
the United States in the war of the revolution, in which 
he did great service at the siege of Yorktown, he had 
among his chaplains the Abbe Robin, a person of con- 
siderable culture and judgment, who in a series of thir- 
teen letters to a friend, gave a very discriminating 
account of his travels through the country. Unlike 
most of the English tourists, who filled their pages with 
the recital of wonderful adventures among the wild 
Indian tribes, the Abbe, with a philosophic mind, enter- 
tained his readers in a much more rational manner, de- 
scribing objects and matters of considerable interest. 
From his first letter, dated at Boston, in June, 1781, it 
appears that his General had been in America some time 
before he himself landed upon our coast, which at the 
time of his arrival seems to have been visited by severe 
storms; for he tells us that "a happy change of wind 


and weather brought us safe into the harbour of Boston. 
From this road, which is interspersed with several agree- 
able little Islands, we discovered through the woods, on 
the side toward the west, a magnificent prospect of 
houses, built on a curved line, and extending afterwards 
in a semi-circle above half a league. This was Boston. 
These edifices which were loftj and regular, with spires 
and cupolas intermixt at proper distances, did not seem 
to us a modern settlement so much as an ancient city, 
enjoying all the embeUishments and population, that 
never fail to attend on commerce and the arts. 

" The inside of the town does not at all lessen the idea 
that is formed by an exterior prospect: a superb wharf 
has been carried out above two thousand feet into the 
sea, and is broad enough for stores and workshops 
through the whole of its extent; it communicates at 
right angles with the principal street of the town, which 
is both large and spacious, and bends in a curve parallel 
to the harbour; this street is ornamented with elegant 
buildings, for the most part two or three stories high, 
and many other streets terminate in this, communicating 
with it on each side. The form and construction of the 
houses would surprise an European eye; they are built 
of brick, and wood, not in the clumsy and melancholy 
taste of our ancient European towns, but regularly and 
well provided with windows and doors. The wooden 
work or frame is light, covered on the outside with thin 
boards, well plained, and lapped over each other as we 
do tiles on our roofs in France ; these buildings are gen- 
erally painted with a pale white colour, which renders 
the prospect much more pleasing than it would other- 
wise be; the roofs are set ofi" with balconies, doubtless 
for the more ready extinguishing of fire; the whole is 


supported by a wall of about a foot highj it is easy to 
see how great an advantage these houses have over ours, 
in point of neatness and salubrity. 

" All the parts of these buildings are so well joined, 
and their weight is so equally divided, and proportionate 
to their bulk, that they may be removed from place to 
place with little diflBculty. I have seen one of two sto- 
ries high removed above a quarter of a mile, if not more, 
from its original situation, and the whole French army 
have seen the same thing done at ]S"ewport. What they 
tell us of the travelling habitations of the Scythians, is 
far less wonderful. Their household furniture is simple, 
but made of choice wood, after the English fashion, 
which renders its appearance less gay; their floors are 
covered with handsome carpets, or printed cloths, but 
others sprinMe them with fine sand. 

"This city is supposed to contain about six thousand 
houses, and thirty thousand inhabitants; there are nine- 
teen churches for the several sects here, all of them con- 
venient, and several finished with taste and elegance, 
especially those of the Presbyterians and the Church of 
England; their form is generally a long square, orna- 
mented with a pulpit, and furnished with pews of a sim- 
ilar fabrication throughout. The poor as well as the 
rich hear the word of God in these places in a conven- 
ient and decent posture of body. 

" Sunday is observed with the utmost strictness ; all 
business, how important soever, is then totally at a stand, 
and the most innocent recreations and pleasures prohib- 
ited. Boston that populous town, where at other times 
there is such a hurry of business, is on this day a mere 
desert ; you may walk the streets without meeting a 
single person, or if by chance you meet one, you scarcely 


dare to stop and talk with him. A Frenchman that 
lodged with me took it into his head to play on the flute 
on Sundays for his amusement j the people upon hearing 
it were greatly enraged, collected in crowds round the 
house and would have carried matters to extremity in a 
short time with the musician, had not the landlord given 
him warning of his danger, and forced him to desist. 
Upon this day of melancholy you cannot go into a 
house but you find the whole family employed in read- 
ing the Bible; and indeed it is an alBfecting sight to 
see the father of a family surrounded by his household, 
hearing him explain the sublime truths of this sacred 

"Nobody fails here of going to the place of worship 
appropriated to his sect. In these places there reigns a 
profound silence; an order and respect is also observ- 
able which has not been seen for a long time in our 
Catholic churches. Their psalmody is grave and ma- 
jestic, and the harmony of the poetry, in their national 
tongue, adds a grace to the music, and contributes 
greatly towards keeping up the attention of the wor- 

" All these churches are destitute of ornaments. l>ro 
addresses are made to the heart and the imagination; 
there is no visible object to suggest to the mind for what 
purpose a man comes into these places, who he is and 
what he will shortly be. ]N"either painting nor sculpture 
represent those great events which ought to recall him 
to his duty and awaken his gratitude, nor are those he- 
roes in piety brought into view, whom it is his duty to 
admire and endeavour to imitate. The pomp of cere- 
mony is here wanting to shadow out the greatness of the 
being he goes to worship; there are no processions to 


testify the homage we owe to him, that great Spirit of 
the Universe, by whose wUl Nature itself exists, through 
whom the fields are covered with harvests, and the trees 
are loaded with fruits." 

The Abbfe gives a particular description of the cere- 
monies of the Quakers, which we omit, and he then con- 
tinues : "Piety is not the only motive that brings the 
American ladies in crowds to the various places of wor- 
ship. Deprived of all shows and public diversions what- 
ever, the church is the grand theatre where they attend, 
to display their extravagance and finery. There they 
come dressed off in the finest sUks, and overshadowed 
with a profusion of the most superb plumes. The hair 
of the head is raised and supported upon cushions to an 
extravagant height, somewhat resembling the manner in 
which the French ladies wore their hair some years ago. 
Instead of powdering, they often wash the head, which 
answers the purpose well enough, as their hair is com- 
monly of an agreeable light colour; but the more fash- 
ionable among them begin now to adopt the present 
European method, of setting off the head to the best 
advantage. They are of a large size, well proportioned, 
their features generally regular, and their complexion fair, 
without rudiness. They have less cheerfulness and ease 
of behaviour, than the ladies of France, but more of 
greatness and dignity; I have even imagined that I have 
seen something in them, that answers to the ideas of 
beauty we gain from those master-pieces of the artists 
of antiquity, which are yet extant in our days. The 
stature of the men is tall, and their carriage erect, but 
their make is rather slun, and their colour inclining to 
pale. They are not so curious in their dress as the 
women, but everything upon them is neat and proper. 


At twenty-five years of age, the women begin to lose 
the bloom and freshness of youth; and at thirty-five or 
forty, their beauty is gone. 

" The decay of the men is equally premature, and I 
am inclined to think that life itself is here proportionably 
short. I visited all the burying grounds ia Boston, 
where it is usual to inscribe upon the stone over each 
grave, the names and ages of the deceased, and found that 
few who had arrived to a state of manhood, ever ad- 
vanced beyond their fiftieth year; fewer still to seventy, 
and beyond that scarcely any. 

" Boston is situated on a peninsula upon a descent to- 
wards the sea side ; this peninsula is connected with the 
continent only by a neck of land, which at full tide is not 
more than the breadth of a high way, so that it would 
be no difficult matter to render this a place of great 
strength. Hard by is an eminence which commands the 
whole town, upon which the Bostonians have built a 
kind of lighthouse or beacon, of a great height, with a 
barrel of tar fixed at the top, ready to set fire to in case 
of an attack. At such a signal, more than forty thou- 
sand men would take arms, and be at the gates of the 
town in less than twenty-four hours. 

"From hence may be seen the ruins of Charlestown, 
which was burnt by the English, on the 17th of June, 
1775, at the battle of Bunker's hill — a melancholy pros- 
pect, calculated to keep up in the breasts of the Bosto- 
nians, the spirits and sentiments of liberty. This town 
was separated from the peninsula only by Charles Eiver, 
and was built in the angle formed by the junction of this 
river with the Mystic. The buildings in it were good, 
the whole capable of being fortified to advantage, and 
seems to have been about half as big as Boston. 


" The harbour of this last mentioned city, can receive 
more than jfive hundred sail of vessels, but the entrance 
is difficult and dangerous, being only a channel about 
the breadth of three ships. Some strong batteries, 
erected upon one of the adjacent islands, protect the 
road, and consequently relieve the town from any appre- 
hensions of an insult from an enemy by sea. The capes 
that bound the entrance of the bay, — the reaf of rocks 
that edge the outlet of the road, and the little islands 
that are seen every where scattered up and down, form 
so many obstacles, which diminish and repress the sea 
swell, and render this harbour one of the safest in the 

" The commerce of the Bostoiiians formerly comprised 
a variety of articles, and was very extensive before the 
breaking out of the present war. They supplied Great 
Britain with masts and yards for her royal navy, and 
built, either upon commission or their own account, a 
great number of merchantmen, remarkable for their 
superiority in sailing. Indeed, they were of such a slight 
and peculiar construction that it did not require the abili- 
ties of a great connoisseur to distinguish their ships in 
the midst of those belonging to other nations. Those 
that they freighted on their own account were sent either 
to the American islands or to Europe laden with timber, 
plank, joiners stuff, pitch, tar, turpentine, rosin, beef, salt 
pork and some furrs; but their principal object in trade 
was the codfish, which they caught upon their own 
coasts, and particularly in the bay of Massachusetts." 

After remarking upon the fisheries and certain exports 
the Abbfe continues, — "It is computed that from 1748 to 
174:9, inclusive, there were 500 vessels employed from 
this port in foreign commerce, and inward entries were 



made at 430; and the coasting and fishing vessels 
amounted to at least 1000. It appears, however, that 
after this, as a certain English author remarks, their 
commerce had declined. 

" The great demand for rum among the Americans led 
them to form connexions with the French Colonies : and 
our wines and brandies mating this liquor of small 
request among us, they flattered themselves that they 
could import molasses to advantage. This attempt suc- 
ceeded beyond their expectations, although they had 
nothing to give in exchange but lumber, and some salt 
provisions. But the English government perceiving the 
injury its own islands thereby suffered, prohibited this 
commerce entirely. The colonies, upon this, complauied 
bitterly, and represented, that by hindering them from 
exporting the productions of their soil to what port they 
pleased, they would be rendered unable to pay for those 
indispensably necessary articles, which they purchased 
at an exorbitant price in England. 

" The government then took a middle way; pennitted 
them the exportation of lumber, and loaded French sugar 
and other foreign commodities imported, with very heavy 
duties. Bat this did not yet satisfy the colonies : they 
considered the mother country in the light of a jealous 
and avaricious step-mother, watching every opportunity 
to turn to her own advantage those channels of gain, 
which would have enabled them to live in ease and 
plenty. This was one of the principal causes of the 
misunderstanding between England and her colonies; 
from thence forward the latter perceived what a change 
independence would make in their favour, and France 
was by no means ignorant of the political advantages 
that would accrue to her from such a revolution. 


"The Irish Presbyterians, discontented with their 
landlord, at home, and attracted by similarity of senti- 
ment, have established in this place, with some success, 
manufactories of linen, and have made some attempts at 
broadcloths; those that have been lately manufactured 
are close and well woven, but hard and coarse; their 
hat manufactories have succeeded not better than the 
cloths; they are thick, spongy and without firmness, 
and come far short of the beauty and solidity of ours. 

" The Europeans have long been convinced of the 
natural and moral dangers to be apprehended, in acquir- 
ing education in large towns. The Bostonians have 
advanced farther, they have prevented these dangers. 
Their University is at Cambridge, seven miles from 
Boston, on the banks of Charles River, in a beautiful 
and healthy situation. There are four colleges all of 
brick, and of a regular form. The English troops made 
use of them as barracks in 1775, and forced the profes- 
sors and students to turn out. The library contains 
more than 5000 volumes; and they have an excellent 
printing house, well furnished, that was originally in- 
tended for a college for the native Indians. To give 
you an idea of the merit of the several professors, it will 
be sufficient to say, that they correspond with the literati 
of Europe, and that Mr. 8ewaU, in particular, professor 
of the Oriental languages, is one of those to whom the 
author of genius and ability has been lavish of those 
gifts; their pupils often act tragedies, the subject of 
which is generally taken from their national events, such 
as the battle of Bunker's HiU, the burning of Charles- 
town, the Death of General Montgomery, the Capture of 
Burgoyne, th^ treason of Arnold, and the Pall of British 
tyranny. You will easily conclude, that in such a new 


nation as this, these pieces must fall infinitely short of 
that perfection to which our European literary produc- 
tions of this kind are wrought up ; but still, they have a 
greater effect upon the mind than the best of ours 
would have among them, because those manners and 
customs are delineated, which are peculiar to them- 
selves, and the events are such as interest them above 
all others: the drama is here reduced to its true and 
ancient origia." 



Description by St. John de Creve Coeur in 1770-1786 • • ■ Account by the Mar- 
quis de Chastellux in 1780-1782 . • . Road from Salem to Boston • • • Tea Party 
in Boston ■ • ■ Aversion to the English • • ■ Visit to Harvard College • ■ • Tues- 
day Club • • • The Parting Stone • ■ • Letters of Brissot de Warville in 1788 
• • • His Delight on being in Boston • • • Young Women of Boston • • ■ Neat- 
ness characteristic of the Mothers • • • Attendance at Meeting • • • Mary Dyer, 
the Quakeress . . • Card-playing ... No Coffee Houses, but Exchanges ■ ■ . 
Decline of Bum Distilleries and Suppression of the Slave Trade... 
Meeting-houses and Bridges. 

Akotheb Frenchman, sometimes known as "J. Hector 
St. John, a farmer in Pennsylvania," and sometimes as 
" M. St. John de Creve Coeur," wrote during the years 
1770 to 1786 an account of his residence in the United 
States, in which are very remarkable statements about 
Boston, the greatest value of which is in their ludicrous ' 
absurdities, such as giving the famous Cotton Mather 
(grandson of John Cotton and of Richard Mather) the 
credit of the foundation of the town. These ridiculous 
stories, were evidently derived from "family traditions," 
which, generally speaking, should as a class always be 
received with great skepticism, for they are really the 
rocks against which all true history splits, and from 
which the fabulous gains precedence. 

The Marquis de Chastellux, a Major-General under 
the Count de Eochambeau, during the years 1780-1782, 
wrote the journal of his travels in the United States, 


while the French Anny was assisting the American Col- 
onies in their war of independence. A portion of this 
account, in an edition of twentj-four copies only, was 
printed on board the French squadron while lying off 
Rhode Island, for strictly private circulation; and a sur- 
reptitious edition of disconnected parts of the same 
account was published in 1785, at Cassel. In 1787, a 
translation of the whole work by Mr. John Kent, at one 
time a resident of Salem, was published in Dublin; and 
it is in this edition that the relation is to be found from 
which the following extracts have been selected. The 
Marquis was a gentleman of much culture, and was one 
of the forty members of the French Academy. He 
gives a very interesting account of social Hfe in Bos- 
ton, introducing into the narrative many pleasant per- 
sonal reminiscences. 

The Chevaher Francois Jean — for he had not then 
attained the rank of Marquis — in the course of his 
travels, left Salem on the fourteenth of November, 
1782, on horseback for Boston. He describes his 
approach to the town in the following words: "The 
road from Salem to Boston passes through an arid 
and rocky country, always within three or four mUes 
of the sea, without having a sight of it; at length 
however, after passing Lynn, and Lynn Creek, you 
get a view of it, and find yourself in a bay formed 
by iNTahant's Point, and Pulling's Point. I got upon the 
rocks to the right of the roads, in order to embrace more 
of the country, and form a better judgment. I could 
distinguish not only the whole bay but several of the 
islands in Boston road, and part of the peninsula of 
Il^antucket [a mistake for ISTantasket], near which I dis- 
covered the masts of our ships of war. From hence to 


"Winisimmet ferry you travel over disagreeable roads, 
sometimes at the foot of rocks, at others across salt 
marshes. It is just eighteen miles from Salem to the 
ferry, where we embarked in a large scow, containiAg 
twenty horses; and the wind, which was rather contrary, 
becoming more so, we made seven tacks, and were near 
an hour in passing. The landing is to the northward of 
the port, and to the east of Charles-Town ferry." He 
then speaks of alighting at the Cromwell's Head, kept 
by Mr. Brackett (Joshua, an innholder, in South-Latin 
School Street) ; after which he repaired to private lodg- 
ings prepared for him at the house of a noted mechanic, 
Adam Colson, a glove-maker, in that part of "Washing- 
ton street which was formerly known as Marlborough 
street. WhUe in Boston he appears to have associated 
with the elite of the town, of whom he has spoken quite 
favorably, giving the women a character for elegance 
and refinement, and also as being well dressed, and in 
general good dancers, though the men were very awk- 
ward, especially in the minuet. 

Having dined with one of the most opulent merchants 
of the town, he remarks: "After dinner, tea was served, 
which being over" the host "in some sort insisted, but 
very politely, on our staying to supper. This supper was 
on table exactly four hours after we rose from dinner; it 
may be imagined therefore that we did not eat much, but 
the Americans paid some little compliments to it, for, in 
general, they eat less than we do, at their repasts, but as 
often as you choose, which is in my opinion a very bad 
method. Their aliments behave with their stomachs, as 
we do in France on paying visits; they never depart, 
until they see others enter. In other respects we passed 
the day very agreeable; and there reigned in this soci- 


ety a ton of ease and freedom, which is pretty general at 
Boston, and cannot faU of being pleasing to the French." 

He found very few persons who could speak in the 
Fj-ench tongue, although some of his officers spoke Eng- 
lish. This led him to write, "As for the Americans, 
they testified more surprise than peevishness, at meeting 
with a foreigner who did not undei-stand English. But 
if they are indebted for this opinion to a prejudice of 
education, a sort of national pride, that pride suffered not 
a little from the reflection, which frequently occurred, 
of the language of the country being that of their 
oppressors. Accordingly they avoided these expres- 
sions, you speak English; you understand English well; 
and Iliave often heard them say — you speaTc American 
well; the American is not difficult to learn. I^ay, they 
have carried it even so far, as seriously to propose iatro- 
ducing a new language; and some persons were desir- 
ous, for the convenience of the pubhe, that Hebrew 
should be substituted for the English. The proposal 
was, that it should be taught in the schools, and made 
use of in all public acts. We may imagine that this pro- 
ject went no farther; but we may conclude from the 
mere suggestion, that the Americans could not express 
in a more energetic manner, their aversion for the Eng- 

For a person endowed with the pecuHar traits of 
mind which the Chevalier possessed, it was impossible 
to leave Massachusetts without visiting the college at 
Cambridge. Therefore, as he remarks, "At eleven I 
mounted my horse, and went to Cambridge, to pay a visit 
to Mr. Willard, the President of that University. My 
route, though short, it being scarce two leagues from 
Boston to Cambridge, required me to travel both by 


sea and land, and to pass through a field of battle, and 
an intrenched camp. It has long been said that the route 
to Parnassus is difficult, but the obstacles we have then 
to encounter, are rarely of the same nature with those 
which were in my way. A view of the chart of the road, 
and town of Boston, will explain this better than the 
most elaborate description. The reader will see, that 
this town, one of the most ancient in America, and which 
contains from twenty to five and twenty thousand inhab- 
itants, is built upon a peninsula in the bottom of a large 
bay, the entrance- of which is difficult, and in which he 
dispersed a number of islands, that serve still further for 
its defence j it is only accessible one way on the land 
side, by a long neck or tongue of land, surrounded by the 
sea on each side, forming a sort of causeway. To the 
[N^orthward of the town is another peninsula, which ad- 
heres to the opposite shore by a very short rock [neck}, 
and on this peninsula is an eminence called Bunlcer's- 
Jiill, at the foot of which are the remains of the little 
town of Charles-town. Cambridge is situated at the 
north-west, about two miles from Boston, but to go 
there in a right line, you must cross a pretty considera- 
ble arm of the sea in which are dangerous shoals, and, 
upon the coast, morasses difficult to pass, so that the 
only communication between the whole northern part of 
the continent, and the town of Boston is by the ferry 
of GTiarlestown, or that of "Winissimet. The road to 
Cambridge lies through the field of battle of Bunker's- 
hill." The writer describes Cambridge as " a little town 
inhabited only by students, professors, and the small 
number of servants and workmen whom they employ." 
After words of respect for the President of the College, 
and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, to 


which he acted as Secretary, he remarts, "I must here 
repeat, what I have observed elsewhere, that in compar- 
ing our universities and our studies in general, with 
those of the Americans, it would not be our interest to. 
call for a decision of the question, which of the two 
nations should be considered as an infant people." 

The Tuesday Club is thus described by the Cheva- 
lier: "This assembly is held every Tuesday, in rotation, 
at the houses of the different members who compose it; 
this was the day for Mr. EusseU, an honest merchant, 
who gave us an excellent reception. The laws of the 
club are not straitening, the number of dishes for sup- 
per alone are limited, and there must be only two of 
meat, for supper is not the American repast. Vegeta- 
bles, pies, and especially good wine, are not spared. 
The hour of assembling is after tea, when the company 
play at cards, converse, and read the public papers, and 
sit down to table between nine and ten. The supper 
was as free as if there had been no strangers; songs 
were given at table, and a Mr. Stewart sung some which 
were very gay, with a tolerable good voice." 

The journal of M. de Chastellux is very fuU in per- 
sonal descriptions, and his pictures of American society 
are extremely interesting, but are entirely too pointed 
for the objects for which these chapters were intended. 
One statement made by the Marquis needs an explana- 
tion. Ho speaks of Cambridge being at a distance of 
two leagues (about six miles) from Boston; and the 
Abbe Eobin gives the distance between these places as 
seven miles. IsTow, to have a fair understanding of these 
writers, it must be remembered that Boston was not 
connected with any of the neighboring towns by a 
bridge at the time when the above quoted descriptions 


were written; for the first bridge built from the town was 
Charles Eiver Bridge, which was not opened for travel 
until the seventeenth of June, 1786 j and Cambridge 
Bridge, usually known as West Boston Bridge, was not 
passable until the twenty-thu-d of ISTovember, 1793. 
Until this last date, there was no comfortable approach 
to "the Colleges," as the university was generally called, 
except through Charlestown over Charlestown ISTeck, 
or else over Boston I^eck and through Eoxbury and 
BrooMine, and finally over Great Bridge, on the pres- 
ent Brighton road. One relic of this old road remains 
standing at the corner of Washington and Centre streets 
in the Highlands — a large stone — which bears on its 
front the following inscription: " The Parting Stone, 
1744. P. Dudley." On its northerly side it directs to 
"Cambridge" and " Watertown," and on its southerly side 
to "Dedham" and "Rhode Island." This guide-stone, 
which is constantly passed without even a notice, has, 
unquestionably, given information to inquirers, and rest 
to the weary for a century and a quarter, thanks to good 
old Judge Paul Dudley of blessed memory, to whom 
the old town of Roxbury was indebted for many good 

J. P. Brissot de "Warville, who was the Deputy of the 
Department of Paris in the first Legislature, and who 
suffered by the guillotiae on the thirty-first of October, 
1793, published a series of letters descriptive of travels 
in the United States, performed in 1788, containing a 
letter dated at Boston on the thirtieth of July, 1788, 
which gives an admirable picture of the social condition 
of Boston, and which will be well worth the space it 
takes in these chapters, even although so much has 
already been said on the subject. All of these French 


works are deserving the attention of persons interested 
in the history of the progress of the country, and are 
mentioned in this connection, for the benefit of the 
curious reader. This unfortunate man, a true friend of 
liberty, thus wrote: — 

" "With what joy, my good friend, did I leap to this 
shore of liberty! I was weary of the seaj and the sight 
of trees, of towns, and eyen of men, give a deUcious re- 
freshment to eyes fatigued with the desert of the ocean. 
I flew from despotism, and came at last to enjoy the 
spectacle of liberty, among a people, where nature, edu- 
cation and habit had engraved the equality of rights, 
which everywhere else is treated as a chimera. "With 
what pleasure did I contemplate this town, which first 
shook off the English yoke ! which, for a long time, re- 
sisted all seductions, aU the menaces, aU the horrors of 
a civil war! How I delighted to wander up and down 
that long street, whose simple houses of wood border 
the magnificent channel of Boston, and whose fuU stores 
offer me all the productions of the contiaent which I had 
quitted! How I enjoyed the activity of the merchants, 
the artizans, and the saUors I It was not the noisy vor- 
tex of Paris ; it was not the unquiet, eager mien of my 
countrymen ; it was the simple, dignified air of men, who 
are conscious of liberty, and who see in all men their 
brothers and their equals. Everything in this street 
bears the marks of a town stUl ia its infancy, but which, 
even in its infancy, enjoys a great prosperity. I thought 
myself in that Salentum, of which the lively pencil of 
Penelon has left us so charming an image. But the 
prosperity of tliis new Salentum was not the work of 
one man, of a king, or a minister; it is the fruit of lib- 
erty, that mother of industry. Everything is rapid. 


everything great, everything durable with her. A royal 
or ministerial prosperity, like a king or a minister, has 
only the duration of a moment. Boston is just rising 
from the devastation of war, and its commerce is flour- 
ishing; its manufactures, productions, arts and sciences 
offer a number of curious and interesting observa- 

The manners of the people are not exactly the same 
as described by M. de Oreve Coeur. The writer speaks 
correctly. " You no longer meet here that Presbyterian 
austerity which interdicted all pleasures, even that of 
walking, which forbade travelling on Sunday, which 
persecuted men whose opinions were different from their 
own. The Bostonians unite simplicity of morals with 
the French politeness and delicacy of manners which 
render virtue more amiable. They are hospitable to 
strangers, and obliging to friends; they are tender hus- 
bands, fond and almost idolatrous parents, and kind mas- 
ters. Music, which their teachers formerly proscribed 
as a diabolic art, begins to make part of their education. 
In some houses you hear the forte-piano. This art, it is 
true, is still in its infancy; but the young novices who 
exercise it are so gentle, so complaisant, and so modest, 
that the proud perfection of art gives no pleasure equal 
to what they afford. God grant that the Bostonian 
women may never, like those of France, acquire the 
malady of perfection in this art! It is never attained, 
but at the expense of the domestic virtues. 

" The young women here enjoy the liberty they do in 
England, that they did in Geneva when morals were 
there, and the republic existed; and they do not abuse 
it. Their frank and tender hearts have nothing to fear 
from the perfidy of men. Examples of this perfidy are 


rare; the vows of love are believed; and love always 
respects them, or shame follows the guilty. 

" The Bostonian mothers are reserved; their air is 
however frank, good and communicative. Entirely 
devoted to their families, they are occupied in rendering 
their husbands happy, and in training their children to 
virtue." He speaks of the law which makes the pUlory 
and imprisonment the punishment of certain crimes and 
remarks, " This law has scarcely ever been called into 
execution. It is because families are happy; and they 
are pure, because they are happy. 

" JSTeatness without luxury, is a characteristic feature 
of this purity of manners; and this neatness is seen every- 
where at Boston, in their dress, in their houses, and in 
their churches, l^othing is more charming than an 
inside view of a, church on Sunday. The good cloth 
coat covers the man; callicoes and chintzes dress the 
women and childre,n, without being spoiled by those 
gewgaws which whim and caprice have added to them 
among our women. Powder and pomatum never sully 
the heads of infants and children : I see them with pain, 
however, on the heads of men: they invoke the art of the 
hair-dresser; for, unhappily, this art has already crossed 
the seas. 

"I shall never call to mind, without emotion, the 
pleasure I had one day in hearuig the respectable Mr. 
Clarke, successor to the learned Dr. Chauncey, the friend 
of mankind. This church is in close union with that of 
Dr. Cooper, to whom every good Frenchman, and every 
friend of liberty, owes a tribute of gratitude, for the love 
he bore the French, and the zeal with which he defended 
and preached the American independence. I remarked 
in this auditory the exterior of that ease and contentment 


of which I have spoken ; that collected calmness, result- 
ing from the habit of gravity, and the conscious presence 
of the Almighty; that religious decency, which is equally 
distant from grovelling idolatry, and from the light and 
wanton airs of those Europeans who go to a church as to 
a theatre. 

' Spectatum veniunt, veniunt spectentur ut ipsse.' 

" But, to crown my happiness, I saw none of those 
livid wretches, covered with rags, who in Europe, 
soliciting our compassion at the foot of the altar, seem to 
bear testimony against Providence, our humanity, and 
the order of society. The discourse, the prayer, the wor- 
ship, every thing, bore the same simplicity. The sef'mon 
breathed the best morality, and it was heard with atten- 
tion." He continues, " All the sects admit nothing but 
morality, which is the same in all, and the only preaching 
proper for a great society of brothers. This tolerance is 
unlimited at Boston; a town formerly witness of 
bloody persecutions, especially against the Quakers; 
where many of this sect paid, with their life, for their per- 
severance in their religious opinions. Just Heaven! 
how is it possible there can exist men believing sincerely 
in God, and yet barbarous enough to inflict death on a 
woman, the intrepid Dyer, because she thee'd and thou^d 
men, because she did not believe in the divine mission of 
priests, because she would follow the Gospel literally? 

" But let us draw the curtain over these scenes of 
horror; they will never again sully this new continent, 
destined by Heaven to be the asylum of liberty and 
humanity. Every one worships God in his own way, at 
Boston. Anabaptists, Methodists, Quakers, and Catho- 
lics, profess openly their opinions, and all offices of gov- 


ernment, places, and emoluments, are equally open to all 
sects. Virtue and talents, and not religious opinions, 
are the tests of public confidence. 

" Since the ancient puritan austerity has disappeared, 
you are no longer surprised to see a game of cards 
introduced among these good Presbyterians. When the 
mind is tranquil iu the enjoyment of competence and 
peace, it is natural to occupy it in this way, especially in 
a country where there is no theatre, when men make it 
not a busiuess to pay court to the women, where they 
read few books, and cultivate less the sciences. This 
taste for cards is certainly unhappy in a republican state. 
Happily it is not very considerable in Boston. 

"^here is no coffee-house at Boston, ISTew Toi'k or 
Philadelphia. One house in each town, that they call by 
that name, serves as an Exchange. One of the principal 
pleasures of the inhabitants of these towns, consists in 
little parties for the country among families and fiiends. 
In this, as in their whole manner of living, the Ameri- 
cans resemble the English. Punch, warm and cold, 
before diuner; excellent beef and Spanish and Bordeaux 
wines, cover their tables, always solidly and abundantly 
served. Spruce beer, excellent cyder, and Philadelphia 
porter precede the wines. I have often found the Ameri- 
can cheese equal to the best Cheshire of England, or the 
Rocfort of Prance." 

This writer tells us, that " The rum distilleries are on 
the decline since the suppression of the slave trade, in 
which their liquor was employed, and since the diminu- 
tion of the use of strong spirits by the country people. 
This is fortunate for the human race; and the American 
industry will soon repair the small loss it sustains from 
the decline of this fabrication of poisons." After giving 


a very truthful account of the neighboring college, he 
remarks, "In a free country every thing ought to bear 
the stamp of patriotism. This patriotism, so happily 
displayed in the foundation, endowment, and encourage- 
ment of this university, appears every year in a solemn 
feast celebrated at Cambridge in honor of the sciences. 
This feast, which takes place once a year in all the col- 
leges of America, is called the commencement: it resem- 
bles the exercise and distribution of prizes in our 
colleges. It is a day of joy for Boston- almost all its 
inhabitants assemble in Cambridge. The most distin- 
guished of the students display their talents in the 
presence of the public; and these exercises, which are 
generally on patriotic subjects, are terminated by a-feast, 
where reign the freest gaiety, and the most cordial fra- 

One more extract, and we will leave this writer. "Let 
us not," he says, "blame the Bostonians; they think of 
the useful, before procuring to themselves the agreeable. 
They have no brilliant monuments ; but they have neat 
and commodious churches, but they have good houses, 
but they have superb bridges [Charles Eiver, Maiden 
and Essex Bridges had then been recently built], and 
excellent ships. Their streets are well illuminated at 
night; while many ancient cities of Europe, containing 
proud monuments of art, have never yet thought of pre- 
venting the fatal effects of nocturnal darkness." 

It is with much reluctance that we leave this charm- 
ing author, who, throughout his whole journal, gives 
the most admirable descriptions in the purest spirit of 
that liberty to which he so soon fell a martyr upon his 
return to France; but the object for which these author- 
ities were cited has been accomplished, that of giving 



a glance at the old town, and its social condition, as 
seen by strangers who were also cotemporaneous with 
their own accounts. It now remains to proceed with 
the contemplated object of these chapters. 



Bonner's Map, 1722, 1733, 1743, 1769 • • • Bnrgiss's Map, 1728 • • • German Map, 
1763 and 1764 • • • London Magazine Map, 1774 • • • Romans's Map, 1774 • ■ • 
Gentleman's Magazine Map, 1775 • • • Almon's Map, 1775 • • • Bunker Hill Map, 
1778 • • • Pelham's Map, 1777 • • • Page's Map, ] 777 ■ • • Gazetteer Map, 1784 • ■ ■ 
Norman's Map, 1789 • ■ • Carleton's Map, 1795 • • • Carleton's Large Map, 1800 

• ••Directory Map, 1809-1829 ■• -Hale's Map, 1814---Annln and Smith's 
Map, 1824-1861 •••Bowen's Map, 1824 ••• Morse's Map, 1828-1839 ■• -Be- 
wiclc Company's Map, 1835 • • ■ Annin's Small Map, 1835 • • • Morse & Tattle's 
Map, 1838 - 1840 ■ • ■ English Map, 1842 • • • Mclntyre's Map, 1852 • • • Dripp's 
Map, 1852 • ■ • Colton's Map, 1855 • • • Mitchell's Map, 1860 • • • Walling's Map, 
1861 •• • City Engineer's Map, 1861-1867 ••• City Engineer's Annexation 
Map, 1867 • ■ • City Engineer's New Map. 1868, 1869 • • • Insurance Maps, 1868 

• • • Charts of the Harbor • • • William Gordon's Eevolutionary Map, 1788 

• • • Maps of Boston and vicinity • • • Maps of Roxbury and Dorchester. 

Before entering particularly upon the intended sub- 
ject of these chapters, it will not be inappropriate to give 
a brief account of some of the niost important printed 
maps of Boston, almost all of which are accessible to per- 
sons who have sufficient interest in the topography of 
the place to search for them. Although outline maps of 
the coast of ISTew England were very early made and 
published, no printed map of the peninsula, giving 
streets, sites of buildings and other landmarks, can be 
found prior to the one so well known as "Bonner's Plan," 
which was not drawn until some time after the commence- 
ment of the eighteenth century, and about ninety years 
after the settlement of the town. Many manuscript 


plans of small localities of much older date have been 
preserved, and occasionally have proved of much value. 
The following list of printed maps, prepared with great 
care, after much investigation, comprises such as have 
come to the writer's knowledge and observation, and is 
believed to comprehend all of any considerable impor- 
tance : 

Bonner's Map : Drawn by Captain John Bonner, 
and engraved and printed by Francis Dewing; first is- 
sued by Captain John Bonner and William Price in 
1722, and afterwards published by Price with additions 
and emendations, in 1733, 1743, and 1769, and possibly 
in other years, as the date of the map was sometimes put 
upon it with writing-ink. The size of the plate is about 
2 feet by 17 1-2 inches. An original impression from 
the plate of 1722 is preserved in the archives of the Mas- 
sachusetts Historical Society; and a copy of it was made 
in 1835 by Stephen P. Puller, and engraved and pub- 
lished by George G. Smith. The same map was reduced 
somewhat more than one-half about the time of its first 
publication, by Captain Cyprian Southack, a noted 
maker of charts about 1715-1725, and published in Lon- 
don about 1733, by I. Mount, T. Page, and W. Mount 
(size, 11 1-2 by 7 inches). Abel Bowen also reduced it 
to a smaller scale (6 1-4 by 4 inches) in 1825, for Snow's 
History of Boston; and George W. Boynton engraved 
it again, in 1852, on a plate measuring 10 by 6 inches, 
for the Boston Almanac. This last mentioned plate has 
been largely used by compilers and publishers. 

Burgisss Map: Engraved by Thomas Johnson in 
Boston, and dedicated to Governor "William Burnett in 
1728 by Wmiam Burgiss. Size, 14 1-2 by 11 inches, 
being on a scale of one-half that of Bonner's, of which 


it is evidently a corrected and improved copy. Among 
the important changes are the extension of the Neck 
portion of the map, so as to include the South "Windmill, 
the location of the Pond near the Great Tree, and the 
correction of the spelling of names. It has upon it the 
first division of the town into wards or companies de- 
noted by dotted lines. The Garden near the foot of 
Beacon Street is designated as "Bannister's Gardens." 
The copy which has been preserved is in the possession 
of the family of the late Dr. Warren; and, although it 
has no date printed upon it, nevertheless bears positive 
evidence that it was executed in 1728, — the only year 
that Governor Burnett was actively the governor of 
Massachusetts, and notliing bearing date later than 
1723 being delineated on it. This ancient map has been 
very accurately reproduced for this work. 

Oerman Map : This small map, 9 by 6 1-2 inches, 
including a small portion of Boston Harbor, was pub- 
lished by Arkstee and Merkus in 1758, at Leipsic, with a 
collection of voyages. The same map was published in 
Paris in 1764 by Jacq. Nic. Bellin, engineer; engraved 
by Arrivet. These were evidently copies of an early 
English map. 

London Magazine Map: In the London Magazine 
for AprU, 1774, is published, engraved by J. Lodge, 
"A Chart of the Coast of New England, from Bev- 
erly to Scituate Harbor, including the Ports of Bos- 
ton and Salem," the plate measuring 10 by 7 1-2 inches. 
A neatly engraved "Plan of the Town of Boston" 
occupies one corner of the plate, and measures 5 inches 
from the Fortification on the Neck to 'Wianisimmet Fer- 
ry-ways, and about 3 1-2 inches in the extreme breadth 
of the town. Although the streets are laid out on this 


map as they were at the time of makmg the plan, yet a 
very few names of the topographical points of interest 
only are noted on the plate. On the twenty-ninth of 
!N'ovember, 1774, Thomas Jefferys, " Geographer to 
His Eoyal Highness the Prince of "Wales," published 
according to Act "A Map of the most Inhabited part of 
l^ew England, containing the Provinces of Massachu- 
sets Bay and 'New Hampshire, with the Colonies of 
Conecticut and Rhode Island. Divided into Counties 
and Townships. The whole composed from actual sur- 
veys, and its situation adjusted by astronomical obser- 
vations." This contains in one corner the London Mag- 
azine Map enlarged (8 1-2 by 5 1-2 inches), and "a 
plan of Boston Harbor from an accurate survey'' (5 3-4 
by 5 1-2 inches) . It also has upon it an emblematic 
vignette of the landing of the Plymouth Forefathers in 
1620, wherein they are represented as being led on by a 
female bearing a liberty cap upon a wand, and as being 
received in a friendly manner by an Indian, who offers 
them beaver. The same plan was copied for " The 
American Atlas" by Mr. Thomas Jefferys, Geographer 
to the King, and printed and sold in London by R. 
Sayer and J. Bennett, in 1776. Another copy of the 
same map was made in 1778 from the last described, and 
published at Paris in " Atlas Ameriquain Septentrional" 
as "Plan de Boston," the names being in English, and 
the descriptive notes in French. 

Romans' s Map: A small engraving, made under B. 
Romans in 1774, measures 3 1-2 by 2 3-4 inches. 

Gentleman^ s Magazine Map: A map 10 1-2 by 8 
inches, designated as " A new and Correct Plan of the 
Town of Boston," was published, without name of either 
author or engraver, in the Gentleman's Magazine for 


October, 1775. This Map includes a portion of " Charles- 
town in ruins," and purports to have been " drawn upon 
the spot," It is executed remarkably well, and exhibits 
streets and topographical positions not on earlier plans 
of the town. In the January number of the magazine 
for the same year (1775) is a whole-sheet chart of the 
harbor of Boston, 14 by 12 inches, including a plan of 
the town done from an actual survey never before made 
public, and entitled "A Plan of the Town and Chart of 
the Harbour of Boston exhibiting a View of the Islands, 
Castle, Forts, and Entrances into the said Harbour,'! and 
bears date Feb. 1, 1775. It includes Chelsea on the 
north, and Hingham on the south; and is chiefly valu- 
able for the soundings, which are given with apparent 

AlmovJs Map: PubHshed in the first volume of 
Almon's Remembrancer, in 1775; size, 10 1-4 by 8 1-4 
inches. This is a very rudely drawn map of the envi- 
rons of Boston, and is very inaccurate in its details. 
Except that it was drawn in June, 1775, and published 
in London, Aug. 28, 1775, and that it gives the head- 
quarters, camps, and lines, together with the principal 
roads from Boston, it would be of very little value. 
It takes in a portion of Chelsea on the north, Hog 
Island on the east, Dorchester on the south, and Cam- 
bridge Colleges on the west. 

Bunker-hill Map: A plan, by an oflBicer present at 
the battle of Bunker Hill, contains a map of Boston and 
Charlestown, measuring 14 inches square; published in 
London by E. Sayer and J. Bennett, 27th November, 

PelJiam^sMap: Done in aquatinta by Francis Jukes, 
from surveys made by Henry Pelham, half-brother of 


Copley, the artist, and published in London, June 2, 
1777. It contains also some of the environs, with the 
military works in 1775 and 1776. Size, 42 1-2 by 28 
1-2 inches. Sometimes known as Urquahart's map. 

Page's Map: Printed in London for WilHam Faden, 
in 1777, from a drawing made by Lieutenant Page, of 
the English Corps of Engineers, in 1775. This map 
shows the military intrenchments of the town, and gives 
names to several streets and passage-ways, differing 
from Bonner's. Size 18 by 12 inches. Republished in 
1849 in Frothingham's Siege of Boston. 

Gazetteer Map : Engraved in 1784 for the contem- 
plated "Gazetteer of the Towns of Massachusetts," and 
published in the October number of the Boston Maga- 
zine for that. year. It measures 9 by 6 J -4 inches, and 
is a very creditable performance. It is styled "A ISTew 
and Accurate Plan of the Town of Boston in Ifew 
England," and, like the London Magazine map, and 
Jefferys' maps, gives to the Great Elm on the Common the 
name of "Liberty Tree." This map was re-engraved, 
in 1849, for an edition of the narrative of the Boston 
Massacre; and is interesting in some particulars which 
are not on other plans of the town. 

JVbrman's Map: Evidently copied in main from Bon- 
ner's Map, on a small scale, about 9 1-2 by 7 inches; 
engraved and pubhshed for the first Boston Du-ectory, 
in 1789, by John JSTorman, a Boston engraver. 

GarletoTi's Map: Drawn in 1795 from actual surveys 
by Osgood Carleton; and engraved by Joseph Callender 
for the second Boston Directory, published in 1796 by 
John West. Size 14 1-2 by 9 inches. 

Carleton' s Large Map: Called "A new Plan of Bos- 
ton, from actual surveys by Osgood Carleton, with cor- 


rections, additions, and improvements"; being a map of 
the peninsular part of the town only. Issued in 1800. 
Size 27 by 20 inches. 

Directory Map : First printed in 1809 for the Boston 
Directory, published by Edward Cotton; evidently a 
new plate from Carleton's Map, with important additions 
and alterations, and engraved by Callender. Size, about 
15 by 9 1-2 inches. This map was continued in use 
twenty years; when it was superseded in 1829 by a new 
map, engraved by Hazen Morse. 

Holes' s Mwp : Engraved in 1814 by T. Wightman, 
jun., from drawing by J. G. Hales, giving the position 
of houses and the bounds of the various estates. Size, 
38 by 29 inches. 

Annin and Smith's Map: Engraved in 1824 by 
"William B. Annin and George G. Smith, and re-issued 
every few years by Mr. Smith with additions. Size, 
about 22 inches square. This map was used for many 
years by the City Government for the Municipal Regis- 
ter, and School Documents. 

JBoiven's Map : A small map, measuring 6 1-2 by 4 
inches, was engraved by Abel Bowen, in 1824, for Snow's 
History of Boston. 

Morse's Map: Engraved in 1828, for the Boston 
Directory of 1829, by Hazen Morse. Size, 14 1-2 by 9 
inches. This map was continued in use by the publisher, 
Charles Stimpson, jun., until 1839. 

Bewick Company's Map: Engraved in 1835, by 
George "W. Boynton, from drawings made by Alonzo 
Lewis. Size, 31 by 22 inches. Mr. Boynton engraved 
in 1839 a similar map, 18 by 17 inches, for N"athaniel 
Dearborn; which has since been pubhshed by E. P. Dut- 
ton & Co., with alterations every year from 1860 to 1867. 



He also engraved, in 1837 and 1839, maps, 5 1-2 by 5 
inches, for the Boston Almanac; and in 1842 a map, 14 
by 11 1-2 inches, to accompany Goodrich's Pictorial 
Geography; and one of the peninsular part of Boston in 
1844, measuring 11 1-2 by 9 inches, for Dickinson's 
Boston Almanac; and finally one in 1850, 11 by 9 1-2, 
also for the Almanac. 

Annins Small Map of the peninsular part of Boston 
only, 4 by 2 3-4 inches. Engraved in 1835 for the Bos- 
ton Almanac. 

Morse and Tuttl^s Map : Engraved in 1838 by Hazeu 
Morse and J. W. Tuttle, and used in the Boston 
Directory for the years 1839 and 1840. Size, 15 1-2 by 
9 1-2 inches. 

English Map : In August, 1842, the Society for the 
Difiusion of Useful Knowledge published in London a 
very nicely executed map of Boston, much after the plan 
of Boynton's, taking in the peninsula of Charlestown. 
Engraved by E,. B. Davies, of London, Size, 15 by 12 

Mclntyre^s Map: Lithographed in Philadelphia in 
1852, by Friend and Aub, from original surveys by H. 
Mclntyre, and published in Boston. The sheet, which 
contains also parts of the neighboring cities, has the 
names of the principal residents, and views of buildings; 
and measures 77 by 58 inches. 

Dripps's Map : Surveyed and drawn by J. Slatter and 
B. Callan, engineers ; and pubKshed in 1852 by M. Dripps, 
New York, and L. IST. Ide, Boston. Size, 57 by 39 inches. 
Lithographed and printed at Perd. Mayer's, ISTew York. 
This map contains the peninsular part of Boston only, 
with the estates and buildings marked out; and is exe- 
cuted on much the largest scale of any map of Boston 


ever printed. The immense labor of altering the bounds 
of estates, and positions of buildings, has thus far pre- 
vented the issue of a new edition. 

Colton^s Maj): Similar to Boynton's. Published by 
J. H. Colton, E'ew York, in 1855. Size, 16 by 13 inches. 

MitclieWs Map: Published by S. Augustus Mitchell, 
jun., in 1860, in Philadelphia. Size, about 11 by 9 inches. 

Walling' s Map: Engraved for the Map of Massachu- 
setts, pubHshed by H. F. Walling, under sanction of the 
Legislature, in 1861. Size, 18 by 17 inches. 

City Engineer's Map: Bj James Slade, City Engi- 
neer; drawn by H. M. Wightman, and engraved by C. 
A. Swett, under the direction of the City Council of 
Boston, 1861. Size, 40 by 28 inches. This map has 
traced upon it the original water-hne, and is issued annu- 
ally with such additions and emendations as changes 
make necessary. It has recently (in 1862) been reduced 
photographically, and printed in oil-colors by L. Prang 
Sc Co., so as to measure 12 1-2 by 9 inches. 

City Engineer's Annexation Map : This large plan 
of Boston and Eoxbury was compiled in 1867, by !N". 
Henry Crafts, City Engineer, by order of the Commis- 
sioners on the annexation of Roxbury. It measures 53 
by 31 inches, and contains what then constituted the 
peninsular part of Boston, with portions of South Bos- 
ton, Bast Boston and Charlestown, and the whole of the 
city of Eoxbury. 

City Engineer's New Map : On the union of Boston 
and Roxbury, in 1868, Mr. Crafts prepared a more per- 
fect map of the city (53 by 35 inches) , with the names of 
the streets, after the necessary alterations had been made 
by the Board of Aldermen. The same map was cor- 
rected by Thomas W- Davis, City Surveyor, and printed 


in 1869 for city purposes. The annexation of Dorches- 
ter to Boston has made necessary a new map for 1870. 

Insurance Maps : A series of sectional maps of Bos- 
ton, in two folio volumes, for the use of underwriters, 
was commenced in 1867, hy D. A. Sanborn, civil engi- 
neer, 117 Broadway, iN". Y., and completed the next 
year. They were eighty in number, on sheets measur- 
ing 35 1-2 by 26 1-2 inches, and on a scale of fifty feet 
to an inch. The various materials of which the build- 
ings standing are constructed are represented by differ- 
ent colors; and various particulars deserving of notice 
are otherwise indicated. A third volume, containing 
thirty plans, and giving Charlestown and large parts of 
the Highland "Wards and of Cambridge, was also pub- 
lished by the same engineer in 1868. 

Several small maps, being compilations or reductions, 
some engraved in metal and otiiers cut in wood, have 
been published during the last twenty-five years by 
^Nathaniel Dearborn and others, in books relating to 
Boston. Valuable plans of parts of the city have also- 
been printed for state and city documents during the 
same time; and not many years ago enlarged plans of 
various sections of the city, similar to the insurance 
maps, were printed with special reference to their use 
by underwriters. 

The list given above does not include the maps of 
Boston and vicinity, strictly so called, nor the Charts of 
the Harbor; Among the principal of these should be 
mentioned the following: — A map of the vicinity of 
Boston, (3 ^ by 3 inches) published in ISTeal's History of 
'Sem England in 1720; A chart of the Harbor without 
date, measuring 21 by 17 inches, in the possession of 
Charles Deane, Esq., entitled " A liTew Survey of the 


Harbour of Boston in ISTew England, Done by Order of 
the Principall Officers and Oomissioners of his Ma''" ISTa- 
vy, and Sold by George Grierson at the two bibles in 
Essex Street, Dublin," which bears evidence of great 
age, as trees are denoted on nearly all of the islands, 
and although the " out wharf," built about the year 1673, 
is fully represented, the " long wharf," built between the 
years 1710 and 1714, is not shown at all; a small chart 
of the harbor published in "L'Atlas Maritime" at Paris 
in 1757 by Bellin, and engraved on the corner of a 
chart of New England, which measures only 8|^ by 
6 1 inches, and is styled "Plan du Havre de Boston," 
"Winnisimmet being designated as "Yimsimit"; "A 
Chart of the Harbour of Boston," without date, and 
also without the names of publisher and engraver, (35 
by 21 1-2 inches), — evidently issued about 1776, as the 
ruins of Charlestown are indicated upon it; a curious 
French "Carte du Port et Havre de Boston" (28 by 'J3 
inches), engraved in 1776, and pubhshed by the Chev- 
alier de Beaurain, containing in a vignette the earliest 
known printed representation of the Pine-tree Banner; 
Beaurain's map was also published in Germany ; 
"Boston, its Environs ^nd Harbour, with the Rebel 
Works raised agaiast that Town in 1775, from the ob- 
servations of Lieutenant Page, of his Majesty's Corps of 
Engineers, and from the plans of Captain Montressor," 
engraved by William Faden, and published in London 1 
October, 1778. The "Atlantic Neptune," published at 
London about the year 1780 to 1783, contains a Chart 
of Boston Bay (39 by 30 1-2 inches), bearing date 1 
December, 1781, compiled by J. F. W. DesBarres, sur- 
veyor of the coast and harbors of North America; and 
also a Plan of the Harbor and Coast from "Nachant" to 


Weymouth Kiver (40 by 28 1-2 inches), accompanied 
with a valuable series of copperplate views of the islands 
and landmarks of the harbor. The Charts composed 
and engraved by Joseph Frederick Wallet Des Barres 
were from surveys taken by Samuel Holland, Esq., Sur- 
veyor General of Lands, and by his assistants, who 
were employed on that service as early as 1764. One 
edition of his Chart of Massachusetts Bay bears date 
in May 1774; one of the Boston Bay was published 
l^ovember 13, 1776; and one of Boston Harbor, of much 
interest, measuring 42 by 30 inches, August 5, 1775. 

In 1788 William Gordon compiled a map, represent- 
ing the seat of the revolutionary war in Massachusetts, 
chiefly taken from Pelham's map for the country and Lt. 
Page's for the harbor (13 by 9 1-4 inches) ; and this was 
copied by Chief Justice Marshall (14 by 9 inches), for 
his life of Washington in 1806, and later reduced to a 
smaller scale for subsequent editions of the same work. 
A map of Boston and Vicinity, from actual surveys by 
John G. Hales (31 1-2 by 25 inches) , was engraved by 
Edward Gillingham in 1820, and also published in 1829 
and 1833 by IS^athan Hale, each edition containing the re- 
quired alterations. Other maps of Boston and vicinity 
may be mentioned, as: — Dearborn's Boston and Vicinity, 
taken from the large State Map, 1841; Sidney's Map, 
published by J. B. Shields, in 1852, from original surveys 
by F. C. Sidney; Walling's large map of Boston and 
its vicinity, published in 1857 and 1858, and in 1859 
with emendations; Map of Boston and the country 
adjacent, from actual surveys by H. F. Walling, first 
issued by B. P. Button & Co. in 1860; Button's Har- 
bor Map, 1861, taken from Walling's Map issued in 
1860; Map of the City of Boston and its environs, from 


actual surveys, and drawn by D. J. Lake, C. E., manu- 
factured by "Walling & Gray, 'New York, 1866, and 
known as Baker and Tilden's map; "Map of Boston (as 
it should be) and the Country Adjacent, with Proposed 
Harbor Improvements, etc.," according to the sugges- 
tions of Thomas Lamb, Esq., published by E. P. Dutton 
& Co., in 1866; and other maps compiled and reduced 
from these. The City Engineer prepared for the Back- 
bay Commissioners an elaborate plan of Boston and 
vicinity, showing the drainage area of Stony Brook, 
which is a valuable addition to this class of maps. 

Besides the above-named, many plans relating to the 
topography of Boston and its immediate vicinity can be 
found in the valuable reports printed for the United 
States Coast Survey, the Commonwealth, and the City 
of Boston; and several of interest have been issued by 
private individuals and corporations, as well as by the 
publishers of historical sketches and guide-books. 

Besides the various plans that have been made of 
Eoxbury and Dorchester for maps of _" Boston and 
vicinity," the following printed maps of these places 
have come to the notice of the writer: 

Map of the City of Eoxbury, surveyed in 1843, by 
order of the town authorities, by Charles "Whitney, and 
revised in 1849, and engraved on a scale of eighty 
rods, or 1,320 feet to an inch, upon a plate measuring 34 
by 25 inches ; and having upon it views of the city hall 
and fifteen meeting-houses. In 1851, a small map of the 
City of Eoxbury, measuring 9 by 5J inches, was pre- 
pared by Charles H. Poole, and engraved by Edward A. 
Teulon for the Eoxbury Directory for the year 1852. 
This last has been revised from time to time, and pub- 
lished with the directories until the union of Boston 


and Roxbury in 1868. An exceedingly valuable manu- 
script map of Roxbury, on a very large scale, was made 
for the use of the assessors of that city, and is one of 
the most interesting and useful heirlooms that has accrued 
to Boston in consequence of its union with that munici- 

"When the State Map was in contemplation, actual 
surveys of the towns of Dorchester and MUton were 
made by Edmund J. Baker, surveyor, under the direc- 
tion of the committees of the two towns. These were 
lithographed at Pendleton's Lithography, in Boston, 
and published in 1831, on the scale of three miles to 
an inch, the map of the two towns being printed on a 
single sheet measuring 33 by 26 inches. In 1850 a 
map of Dorchester was printed by Tappan & Bradford, 
Lithographers, on a sheet measuring 36 by 28 inches, 
from surveys made by Elbridge Whiting for S. Dwight 
Eaton. This last-mentioned map contains the views of 
nine meeting-houses and of Mattapan Bank. A manu- 
script map of Dorchester, on a very large scale, was 
made in 1869 by Thomas 'W. Davis, City Surveyor, for 
the use of the commissioners on the annexation of 
Boston and Dorchester, and is now preserved with the 
maps in the city archives. 

A small selection from the list above given wUl sup- 
ply the general reader with all that will be required in 
the way of maps to comprehend the changes that have 
taken place in the topography of the town and city 
since the foundation of Boston in 1630; viz: — Bonner's 
Plan, of 1722, republished in 1835; Burgiss's Map, 1728, 
reprodviced in 1869; Lt. Page's Map, 1775, reprinted in 
Frothingham's Siege of Boston in 1849; Carleton's 
Map, 1796; Directory Map by Morse, 1828 to 1839; 


Annia and Smith's Map, 1824 to 1860 j the City Engi- 
neer's Map, 1861-1869, and the 'New Map of Boston, 
printed by the city ia 1868 and 1869. For harbor purposes 
no better charts are needed than the old Chart of Boston 
Harbor by Des Barres in 1775, which exhibits the face 
of the country and the hills and bluffs of the islands, and 
that of the United States Coast Siu'vey, and one recently 
published under the superintendence of Capt. Eldridge. 
The map of Henry Pelham, 1775, and that of "Boston 
and its Environs in 1775 and 1776 " in Frothingham's 
siege of Boston, will give the best idea of the fortifica- 
tions around the town during the war of the Kevolution. 



Points and Headlands ■ • ■ Blaxton's Point • • • Barton's Point ■ • ■ Hudson's Point 
■ ■ . Merry's Point • ■ • Fort or South Battery Point ■ • • Windmill or Wheeler's 
Point • • • The Coves . • • Mill Cove, the Site of the Old Mill Pond ■ • ■ The Old 
North Causeway ■ • • Grist Mills ■ ■ • Mill Creek, the Old Canal, now the Site 
of Blackstone Street ••• Other Creeks •■• North and South Mills •■• Foot 
Bridge • • • Windmill Walk • • • Saw Mill and Chocolate Mill • . • Mill Bridge, 
Draw Bridge, Swing Bridge, and Mackrill Lane Bridge • • • Oliver's Dock • • • 
Windmills ■ • • Great Cove • • • North and South Batteries • • • Sea Wall, Bar- 
ricado, or Out-Wharves • • • Minot's and Brimmer's T • ■ • Island Wharves 
• • . Atlantic Avenue laid out in 1868 • • • South Cove • • • Back Bay, or West 
Cove • ■ • Public Garden. 

Among the most noted of the landmarks of the old town 
were its Points, or Headlands. The most distinguishable 
of these were, Blaxton's Point, Barton's Point, Hudson's 
Point, Merry's Point, Fort Point, and Windmill (or 
"WTieeler's) Point. 

Blaxton's (or Blackstone's) Point, so named on 
account of the neighboring residence and spring of Rev. 
William Blaxton, the earliest English resident upon the 
peninsula, was situated in the neighborhood of West 
Cedar Street, and between Cambridge and Pinckney 
Streets, at a point which formerly bore the name of West 
Hill. East of this was situated Mr. Blaxton's Garden, 
and not far distant was the memorable spring which sup- 
plied hina with water. The garden is designated on 
Burgiss's map in 1728, as Bannister's Garden. 


Barton's Point, which derived its name from James 
Barton, a noted ropemaker of the olden time, was at 
the north-west corner of the town, near the abutments 
of Canal (or Cragie's) Bridge, and is only kept in 
remembrance by Barton Street which was laid out in 
its neighborhood soon after the removal of the Alms- 
house in 1825, which had been built there in 1800. 

Hudson's Point took its name from Francis Hudson, 
a fisherman, who carried on the ferry from that point to 
Charlestown. It was situated at the north end of the 
town near the junction of Charter and Commercial 
streets, a short distance east of Charles Eiver Bridge. 

Merry's Point, since called IS'orth Battery Point, was 
situated a very little to the southeast of the Winnisim- 
met Ferryways, near where l^orth Battery Wharf is, 
and owes its name first to Walter Merry, one of the 
earliest shipwrights of the town, who had his wharf and 
dwelling house there. Mr. Merry, who may have come 
over in the Grriffin, in September, 1633, — for he was 
admitted a member of the first church on the ninth of 
the following February, — was drowned in the harbor 
on the twenty-eighth of August, 1657; but not until his 
wharf had been converted into a battery in 1646, and 
the name of the Point changed. 

Port Poiat was situated near Eowe's Wharf, east of 
Fort Hall, and took its name from its proximity to the 
first fort erected on the peninsula. It gave name to the 
channel passing by it, which led from the bay just east 
of Dover Street Bridge. This bay has at times been 
known as Eoxbury Harbor, Gallows Bay, and more 
recently as South Bay; while the channel has been 
known as Fort Point Channel, although sometimes it 
has been called erroneously Four Points or Fore Point 


Channel. After the Sconce was built at this Point it 
took the name of Sconce (or South Battery) Point. 

"Windmill Point was at the southerly end of Sea 
Street, now called Federal Street, at the site of the gas- 
ometer; and was so called in .consequence of its being a 
noted site for "Windmills from the first settlement of the 
town until long after it became a city. Much of the 
property at the south end of Sea Street falling into the 
possession of Jonathan Wheeler and other members of 
his family, the Point took the name of "Wheeler's Point, 
and has been thus distinguished for at least seventy 
years, certainly ever since the year 1796. 

The great changes which have taken place in modem 
times by filling in the various coves, and by the building 
of commodious wharves, have almost entirely obliterated 
the distinguishing features of these points ; nevertheless " 
some of these local names are still retained in common 
parlance, especially by the older inhabitants. But these 
will soon disappear; as, unlike the streets and byways, 
they have no written remembrancers in any of the 
records, nor are they recognized in the printed direc- 
tories of the city. Traditionary lore, and an occasional 
mention by some antiquarian writer, wUl alone help to 
perpetuate their remembrance. 

Between the several Points, or Headlands, of the 
town were the Coves, as they have been designated 
from the fii'st -settlement of the peninsula, and which 
were briefly alluded to in Chapter I. 

At the north part of the town was situated the Mill 
Cove, which might correctly have been called the iN'orth 
Cove, being an indentation of that part of the peninsula 
caused by the widening of the Charles Eiver at its 
mouth. At the commencement of the present century, 


this cove, for good reasons, which will appear in this 
account, was known by the name of the Mill Pond; and 
comprised the large space bounded by portions of Prince 
and Endicott streets on the east, and Leverett street, 
Tucker's Pasture and Bowling Green on the west; and 
on the south it covered the whole space now occupied 
by Haymarket Square. Most of the estates on Back 
street (now the westerly part of Salem street) and on 
Hawkins and Green streets originally extended to the 
Mill Pond. Probably the location of the First and 
Second Baptist meeting-houses, upon its southeastern 
border, was selected for the convenience of using the 
water of the pond for baptismal purposes, as was for- 
merly done, when the water was next to their rear. 
This cove was originally a salt marsh; and where Cause- 
way street now is, it is said " that the Indians had a foot- 
path over the highest part of the marsh or flats, which 
was raised and widened by a Mr. Crabtree to retain the 
water of the pond." This may have been the origin of 
the old ^KTorth Causeway (now Causeway street), for 
there was a joiner by the name of John Crabtree, a 
townsman in 1638, who owned land, as early as the year 
1641, which bordered upon the sea. This causeway, 
however, must not be confounded with another cause- 
way which will be mentioned hereafter, and which had 
much to do with the formation of the Mill Creek. In 
the latter part of the last century, the Mill Pond sup- 
plied two grist-mills with water, for motive power. 

On the thirty-first of July, 1643, a grant was made 
to Henry Symons, George Burden (he who bought the 
land of John Crabtree in 1641), John Button, and John 
Hill, partners, of all this cove, on condition that they 
would erect "vpon or neere some part of the premises 


one or more eorn-miUs." After a long, lapse of years, 
the successors of these original proprietors were incor- 
porated as the Boston Mill Corporation on the ninth of 
March, 1804, and on the fourteenth of the following May 
obtained from the town permission to use the soil from 
Beacon HUl and its neighborhood for filling up the Mill 
Pond. The corporation, again on the twenty-fourth of 
July, 1807, made an agreement with the town in reference 
to the filling up of the pond, whereby the town was to have 
one-eighth of the lots filled up within the space of twenty 
years. The filling up of the pond, and grading of the 
land has added about fifty acres to the area of Boston 
available for building purposes, in a district of the city 
which now contains many large and costly buildings, and 
from which proceed all the railroads leading in a north- 
erly direction. 

This Mr. Symons appears to have been a man of con- 
siderable enterprise, and his commencement in producing 
good water-power might have led to other improvements 
in the town, had he not been suddenly removed by death 
in the September immediately following his mUl-dam 
endeavor. When he and his associates obtained their 
grant from the town, on the thirty-first of July, 1643, 
among other rights they had the liberty " to dig one or 
more trenches in the highways or waste grounds, so as 
they make and maintain sufficient passable and safe ways 
over the same for horse and cart." In the performance 
of this, they dug the trench which wiU be remembered 
by our old citizens as the Mill Creek, at the same time 
making the smaller causeway above alluded to, and 
which disappeared a long time ago. There was not 
originally a real creek in the place of the- artificial Mill 
Creek; yet the marshy land was so low in that region 


that in the highest spring tide it was overflowed, so as 
occasionally to divide the town into two parts, generally 
known then, as now, as the !N"orth and South Ends of 
the town. Many persons who read these chapters may 
not remember that the " old canal," or MUl Creek, ran 
just east of the present Canal street, on the exact hne of 
the Boston and Maine Railroad, from Causeway street 
to Haymarket square ; thence through Blackstone street 
to the present JS'orth street; thence on the southerly 
edge of the same street, but chiefly on the estates on 
the same side of the street, imtil it reached Clinton 
street J thence into the Town Dock, which occupied 
nearly all of I^orth Market street, for the fronts of aU 
the stores on this street stand over the original site of 
the old Town Dock. When the great improvement was 
made by Mr. Quincy, the second mayor of the city, in 
which he was largely assisted by the able advice and 
practical skill and knowledge of the late Hon. Caleb 
Eddy, in laying out iNTorth Market street, in 1826, the 
easterly end of the Mill Creek was somewhat diverted 
from its old direction, and made to run its course through 
where Clinton street now is, and terminate at Commer- 
cial street, just north of the old City "Wharf. The canal 
having been filled up, Blackstone street was -laid out in 
the year 1833, during the mayoralty of Hon. Charles 
Wells; and although without any special reference to 
the locality, took the name so well identified with the 
first settlement of the town, the next year, through the 
instrumentaUty of Hon. Charles Leighton, then an 
Alderman, at the earnest solicitation of his old friend, 
the late Dr. Benjamin Shurtleff, who had the greatest 
veneration for the memory of the forefathers of the town. 
This was not the only creek, it must be remembered. 


that flowed in the peninsula; for when Boston was first 
settled there were many other low, marshy places that 
obtained the name of creeks. For instance, the Town 
Dock originally extended into Brattle square; another 
similar creek ran up from Oliver's Dock, near Kilby 
street, through Water street to the neighborhood of 
Spring lane, in olden times called the" springate"; an- 
other was where Congress street now is; another where 
the lower parts of MUk and Federal streets now are; 
and others were in the many low and marshy parts of the 
old town. 

It has been remarked above that there were formerly, 
nearly a century ago, two gristmills which were supplied 
with water for motive power from the Mill Pond, which 
ia its turn was supplied from the sea. The causeway 
formed at the time that the trench was dug by Mr. 
Symons and his associates was at the easterly part of the 
MUl Cove, and led to Charlestown. One of these mills, 
called the l^Torth MUl, stood very near the angle in Endi- 
cott street, close by where. Endicott place now is, at 
the northerly bend of the street, a few paces beyond 
Thacher street. The other, called the South MUl, had 
its location in the southerly bend in Endicott street, 
and was approached by Link alley, which was discon- 
tinued in the spring of 1858. The old wheels of these 
neglected mills (particularly the one in the lower work- 
room of Deacon Samuel Beal's noted furniture ware- 
house near the Mill Creek) are undoubtedly remembered 
by many of those who now rejoice in being .called Iforth 
End boys. In modern time, after the laying out of 
Pond street (now Endicott street), there was a narrow 
foot-bridge over the canal (known as- the Foot Bridge), 
which connected the miU side with the street; and there 


was another approach, from Hanover street to the east- 
erly end of Link alley (more recently known as North 
Federal court), — a wooden platform projecting over the 
side of the canal,. — known familiarly as Windmill walk, 
which would almost lead to the belief that the South Mill 
was sometimes moved by other power than that of the 
waters of the Mill Pond. But be this as it may, both 
of the Mills situated near the Mill Cove were, in the 
natiu-e of the case, tidal, and both became inoperative 
when the Old liTorth Causeway gave way; and the Mill 
Pond was converted into a receptacle for oyster shells, 
dry-dirt and the debris and street offal collected from all 
parts of the peninsula. 

Somewhat later in point of time, a saw mill and a 
chocolate mill were erected in the neigborhood of the 
pond, and were put in motion by its water. All of these, 
however, lost their peculiar vocation long before the 
water was cut off from the canal, in 1828. 

The canal running transversely across the main 
avenues that connected the If orth End with the other 
parts of the town, there were besides the Foot Bridge 
two other bridges which crossed it necessarily; the one 
in Hanover sti;eet was immovable, and called the Mill 
Bridge, on account of its proximity to the South Mill; 
the other, which lifted like an old fashioned draw, and 
therefore called Draw Bridge, was in Ann, now iSTorth 
street. This last is the bridge that fell through (a sad 
omen indeed) on the twenty-seventh of October, 1659, as 
the ISTorthenders were returning home from witnessing the 
execution of William Kobinson and Marmaduke Steven- 
son, the two Quakers hung on the Common; and per- 
haps heavy with grief and disappointment, because, at 
that time, poor Mary Dyar, who had been let off, and 



banished from the colony, after she had been obliged to 
sit upon the ladder with her arms and legs bound and a 
rope about her neck, was not hung also. Alas for the 
philanthropy of our ancient townsmen! But the obsti- 
nate woman returning to her loved home and family was 
hung on the first day of the next June upon our delight- 
ful Common, and perhaps from the great limb of the old 
elm which was blasted by the gale of the twenty-ninth of 
June, 1859, within one year of two centuries after her in- 
human murder. Those persons who passed over the MiU 
Bridge went in safety, because it had been recently 
rebuilt in a substantial manner, and was not constructed 
with a draw. In modern times, after Boston became a 
city, other small bridges were placed across the canal; 
one in Haymarket square, one in Market street, one in 
Traverse street, and one in Causeway street. 

Two other bridges obtained considerable note in the 
old town. One, quite small, called the Swing Bridge, 
crossed the Dock, and was in the street leading fi'om 
Merchants row to Ann street, and was removed about, 
one hundred years ago. The other was in the street 
anciently known as Mackrill lane, now Ealby street, and 
passed over Oliver's Dock. Remains of the old timbers 
and buttresses of this dock, and perhaps of the bridge, 
were exposed to view in December, 1864, while work- 
men were employed in boxing out dampness from the 
cellars of the stores in Kilby street. When the streets 
of Boston were named, on the third of May, 1708, this 
street, called " the way leading from Justice Dummer's 
corner in King Street, passing over ye Bridge as far as 
Mr. Dafforn's corner in Milk Street" was denominated 
" Mackrill Lane." The water of the dock then extended 
as far as Milk street, and a small wooden bridge was in 


later years (certainly as late as 1722) to be seen cross- 
ing the street where Hawes street now opens into Lib- 
erty square. The southerly portion of " MackrHl Lane " 
was afterwards, at different times, called Cooper's alley, 
MUler's lane and Adams street; and when, in modern 
times, the street was straightened and widened, the 
whole took the name of Kilby street. The bridge, 
which was made more substantial in the year 1710, 
disappeared when that portion of Oliver's Dock was 
filled up. 

Although the mills mentioned above were the chief 
gristmills in the town, the inhabitants, not trusting en- 
tirely to the tide waters for motive power, depended in a 
great degree upon the windmills, which they placed on 
every eminence and commanding point in the town. 
They were, therefore, quite numerous in the olden time. 
There had been mills in the earliest days of the town, 
upon Copp's Hill, Fort Hill, Fox Hill, the hill on the 
!N^eck, the rising ground north of Cambridge street, near 
the foot of Pitts street, and at Windmill Point. There 
are many now living who well remember the last two of 
these, which were not removed until several years after 
Boston became a city. 

The number of coves was almost as numerous as the 
number of creeks. The Mill Cove, or J^orth Cove, 
already described as afterwards forming the MUl Pond, 
the Great Cove, or East Cove, which extended north and 
south of the present Long "Wharf, and the South Cove, 
extending from Windmill Point to Boston I^eck, were 
the ones most frequently mentioned in the old records. 

The Gfreat Cove extended from Clark's, more re- 
cently Hancock's and now Lewis Wharf, at the easterly 
end of Fleet street on the north, to Rowe's Wharf on 


the south. In its circuitous course it was bounded on 
the west by the buUdings and wharves on what are now 
called ISTorth street, Dock square, Merchants row, Kilby 
street, the lower part of Milt street, and Batterymarch 
street. Westerly it had two smaller coves or docks; 
one called the Town Dock, extending from the easterly 
end of the Quincy market to the westerly side of Dock 
square; and the other, Oliver's Dock, extending from 
the water at the head of Central "Wharf, through Liberty 
square, across Kalby street, nearly to Congress street. 

^ot far from the north and south termini of this 
cove were the IS^orth and South Batteries. The first of 
these was erected as early as the year 1646, to command 
the harbor and the mouth of Charles River. The South 
Battery, or the Sconce, as it was most frequently called, 
was built at the foot of Fort Hill near the present situa- 
tion of Rowe's Wharf about the year 1666. In regard to 
these famous constructions of the olden time, we can 
give a cotemporaneous description of them, in the form 
of a report made to the General Court of Election, held 
on the twenty-third of May, 1666. The report is as 
follows : 

"Wee, the subscribers, being appointed a comittee 
by this honoured Court to vejw the batterjes lately 
erected by Major Generall Jno. Leueret, with the aduice 
of the comittee of militia in Boston, accordingly attended 
that seruice, and vnder the conduct of the sajd taajor 
generall, wee enf'ed a well contriued fort, called Boston 
Sconce; the artillery therein is of good force & well 
mounted, the gunner attending the same; the former 
thereof suiteable to the place, so as to scower the har- 
bour, to the full length of their shot, euery way; it is 
spacious w^'^in, that the trauerse of one gunne will not 


hinder the others course; and for defence, the founda- 
tion is of stone, & well banked w* earth for dulling the 
shott & hindering execution; fflnally, wee apphend it 
to be the compleatest worke of that kind which hitherto 
hath been erected in this country. "Wee also tooke sur- 
vey of another worke on the north side of Boston, called 
Merrjes Point, raysed with stones. The foundation is 
defended from the violence of the sea w"" spyles and 
plancks; the wall of a considerable thicknes, yet lesse 
safe than the other, by the sharpe edges next the can- 
non, & widenes of the ports w'^^'in, which being faced w*"* 
strong timbers, as is intended, willbe much better. 

" To conclude, wee judge the defence to be consider- 
able, & the offence to be avajlable (by .God's blessing) 
for the thing intended, for w* the actors & contrivers, 
whereof Major Generall Leueritt hath beene the cheife, 
both in contriving, acting, & disbursing, deserues the 
thankes of this Court, & all due encouragement. Bos- 
ton Sconce hath nine gunns mounted, & ffower more 
intended, without seven at Merrjes Point. All w* wee 
submit to the wisdome of this Court, & subscribe our- 
selves, your servants, 

George Coewin, 
Wm. Hauthorn, 
Francis Willoughby, 
Petek Tiltok, 
Tho. Bradbury, 
Edward Johnson, 
Timothy Wheeler." 

For this excellent work of engineering, Major Gen- 
eral John Leverett, who in 1673 was elected Governor 
of the Colony, had a vote of thanks and a gratuity of 
one hundred pounds. 


Both of these batteries have long since disappeared, 
and wharves for the accommodation of the largest mer- 
chant ships have been built in their places. They were 
both to be seen in 1784, and are delineated on a map 
of the town engraved that year. They were certainly 
kept in repair, and supplied with a proper complement 
of men untU the termination of the war of the Revo- 

Any person who examines the map published in 
1784, or any of the older ones, will notice what appears 
to be a marginal wharf, extending in nearly a straight 
line from the present head of Lewis Wharf, across Long 
"Wharf at the T, to Eowe's "Wharf; and will find it 
designated as the Old "Wharf. This indicates the exact 
portion of the Sea "Wall, Barricado, or Out "Wharves as 
it was sometimes called, because it was formed of several 
parts, separated by intervals left for the free passage of 
vessels. This interesting construction, forming a line 
of about 2,200 feet in length, was undertaken in the fall 
of 1673 by a company of forty-one persons, the town 
having declined the enterprise, who were severally to 
buUd a portion of it, from twenty to one hundred and 
twenty running feet measured in front. This was built 
in a substantial manner, uniform in all its parts, and was 
about fifteen feet in height, and twenty feet in breadth 
at top, of sufficient strength to answer the purpose of 
a breastwork and for heavy guns mounted " en barbette." 
It was designed as a defence in case of any inimical har- 
bor attack; and fortunately proved needless, as no 
foreign enemy ever passed the Castle previous to the 
revolutionary war. Being of no special value for mer- 
cantile purposes it was allowed to go into decay by the 
proprietors, who had been incorporated by an act passed 


by the General Court of the Colony on the eleventh of 
May, 1681. 

Yery little of the Barricado now remains, and what 
does is so perfectly concealed by improvements, that it 
would require a great stretch of credulity to point out a 
vestige of this remarkable enterprise. Brimmer's T (or 
Minot's T, as it was previously called) was a portion of 
this structure 5 and at the north of this there used to 
be a square wharf, called IN'orth Island Wharf, used fre- 
quently as a storage for plaster of Paris and ballast, and 
which was removed about the year 1830. Between this 
wharf and the T was the north opening to the dock in 
the rear of the Sea wall. On the south side of Long 
Wharf was the other openings and the last vestige of 
this portion of the Barricado was the South Island 
Wharf, which was incorporated into Central Wharf 
when it was built in 1816. In 1776, when Hem-y Pel- 
ham made his remarkable map of the vicinity of Boston, 
there were three of these island wharves north of Long 
Wharf, and two south of it. 

In about the same place, where the ancient Barricado 
of 1681 was stretched from the ]N"orth Battery to the 
South Battery, the City Council voted in December 
1868 to lay out a marginal street called Atlantic avenue. 
This great improvement extends from Broad street, at 
Eowe's Wharf, to Commercial street at Eastern avenue. 
The resolve and order for laying out the avenue and ap- 
propriating therefor the sum of twelve hundred thousand 
dollars was approved by the mayor on the eighteenth of 
December, 1868. The dredging between India and Cen- 
tral wharves commenced on the eleventh of March, 
1869; the first pile was driven in the dock between these 
wharves near India Wharf on the sixth of April, and the 


first stone laid in the dock near Kowe's Wharf on the 
ninth of April of the same year. The westerly part of 
the building on Eastern avenue was taken down in Sep- 
tember, 1869. The earth for constructing the avenue 
is supplied from Fort Hill. 

The great changes that took place when Faneuil Hall 
was built in 1742 and 1743 very much changed the ap- 
pearance of the westerly side of the Great Cove; and so 
in modern times did the enlargement of the same build- 
ing in 1805 or 1806, and the building of the new Market 
House, which was commenced in 1824, the comer stone 
having been laid with much ceremony on the twenty-sev- 
enth of April of that year. This building was opened 
for use on the twenty-sixth of August, 1826, two years 
and six days after the land was first staked out. 

The South Cove was bounded on the land side, com- 
mencing on "Windmill Point, where the gasometer now 
is, by the rear part of the estates on Essex street on the 
northeast, Rainsford's lane and Beach street on the 
north, and Orange street (now Washington street) on 
the northwest. At the close of the war of the revolu- 
tion, there were no streets running parallel with Essex 
and Orange streets to their southeast, and only a few 
short streets and lanes ran perpendicular from them to 
the sea. Orange street, which split the neck lands, was 
the only street south of Castle street; and very little, if 
any improvement was noticeable in this part of the town 
until the thirty-first of January, 1833, when the South 
Cove Corporation received its charter from the Common- 
wealth. The work of filling up the cove commenced on 
the third of May, 1834; and before the close of the year 
1837, seventy-seven acres were reclaimed from the sea 
and the contiguous low lands. The laying out of Front 


street in 1806 (the name of which was changed to Har- 
rison avenue in 1841) to South Boston Bridge, which 
had been incorporated on the sixth of March, 1804, and 
the building on Sea street and the southerly part of 
South street, had done much to improve this part of 
the town; but it was almost entirely due to the grand 
impetus given by the South Cove Corporation that so 
great improvements were made in this region, and that 
so large a tract of waste territory was made habitable. 

That portion of the town lying west of the neck and 
of the Common, and which for many years has been 
known as the Back Bay, might well have been called 
the West Cove. In 1784, this part of the town, now 
making such rapid progress as the region of stylish and 
comfortable private residences, was entirely destitute of 
houses, and no streets had then been laid out west of 
Pleasant street and the Common. The first improve- 
ment in this direction may be said to have commenced 
at the laying out of Cliarles street in 1803, and when the 
Western avenue enterprise, incorporated on the fourteenth 
of June, 1814, was undertaken, and the causeways and 
dams running to Roxbury built and the water shut out of 
the receiving basin. The removal of the ropewalks west 
of the Common, in 1823, a,ided also in this great work. 
Boylston street was soon afterwards extended west, and 
on the twenty-sixth of October, 1837, the Public Garden 
was laid out by the city. Soon after this, the extreme 
South End began to look up. The rapid growth of this 
district may be illustrated by the following fact : In ISTo- 
vember, 1830, a gentleman of the old school, well known 
in this community for his literary productions, the ema- 
nation of a powerful mind drawn by an equally powerful 
pen, was taking his customary ride to- his country seat, 



and was, undoubtedly, pondering in his mind what new 
theme he should next write upon, when his attention 
was drawn, a short distance north of the Roxbury Une, 
to a small assemblage of persons, and what, to his dis- 
cerning eye appeared to be an auctioneer, in the form 
of the well-remembered Stephen Brown. Curiosity, 
a promiaent faculty of the gentleman, Lucius M. Sar- 
gent, Esq., who was never afraid to have his name used 
properly in an illustration, at once stopped his horse; 
and making his way to the gathering, perceived that a 
land sale was going on; and, beiag of a speculative dis- 
position, when speculation is a reality, he joined in the 
bidding, and to his siu-prise, and it will also be one to 
the readers of this article, he became the purchaser of 
three acres three quarters and eight rods of land, of 
165,526 feet, formerly the property of the late Wilham 
Payne and Christopher Gore, and situated between the 
present Shawmut avenue and Tremont street, and all 
this for the small sum of two hundred and sixty-nine 
dollars and eighty cents. The rainy day, then, would 
only allow ten persons to feel sufficient interest to attend 
a sale at which acres of land in the now great south 
ward could be bought at the very contemptible price of 
about one null and one half per square foot. In the 
short space of forty years, the neighborhood of this pur- 
chase has become so much inhabited that the land would 
now probably sell for three thousand fold the price given 
in 1830. But it was not until quite recently that the 
great change came over the Back Bay, when the Com- 
monwealth ceded a portion of its land to the city, and 
put other portions on sale, and when the Public Garden 
was enlarged and permanently made a desirable and 
beautiful place of resort for the public. The laying 


out of the spacious parks and avenues on this once 
dreary waste has largely added to the building area, as 
well as to the taxable property of the city. When the 
drainage and grading shall have been completed, and 
the streets paved and sidewalks laid, it will be by far 
the most pleasant and desirable place for private resi- 
dences in this city. 



Divisions of the Town • • North End • • • South End • • • Common and Neck • • • ' 
Old Soubriquets •■• • New Boston, West Boston, or West End • • • The Hill, 
etc. • • ■ South Boston • ■ • The New Laud • ■ • East Boston • • ■ South Cove ■ • ■ 
Back Bay, etc. . • • Mill-Dam Land • • ■ Mount Vernon • • • The Fields ■ ■ • The 
Mill Field • • • The Fort Field • • • Neck Field, or Field towards Eoxbury • • • 
Gentry Hill Field ■ • ■ The New Mill Field, or New Field • • • Boling or Bowl- 
ing Green ■ • ■ Valley Acre • • • The Pastures,— Stanley's, Buttolph's, Tucker's, 
Rowe's, Wheeler's, Atkinson's, Leverett's, Middlecott's, and others ■ • • 
Blaxton's Garden • ■ ■ Watches and Wards • • • Military Districts ■ • • Overseers 
of the Poor • • • Division of the Town into Eight Wards in 1715 • • • Names and 
Boundaries of the Wards • • ■ Division into Twelve Wards • • • Numbers and 
Boundaries of the Wards in 1736. 

In the early days of Boston, the town was not divided 
into wards as now ; nevertheless, it was not wholly desti- 
tute of other divisions. The Mill Creek, or Canal, 
separated one portion very distiactly from the remaining 
part of the town; and this, being the north part of the 
peninsula, early obtained the name of the North End,, as 
the other part did that of the South End. Within the 
memory of the oldest inhabitants, MlHi street was referred 
to frequently as at the South End; and the third religious 
society of Boston now occupies a meeting-house, which 
though it was buUt much more than a century ago and 
has survived the desecrating iofluenfces of a hostUe army, 
stUl bears the name of the Old South. The Common 
and ISTeck were necessarily a part of the South End; 


and in days far from being ancient it was not very un- 
common to hear of Hatters'-Sqnarers, Fort-Hillers and 
Wlieeler's-Pointers, — epithets frequently appHed to the 
pugnacious boys of former days, the residents of particu- 
lar localities, — the Boston boys obtaining from the 
neighboring towns the generic name of " Chucks." 
When that part of the town which lies west of Sudbury 
street was first used as a place of residence, it received 
the name of "IS^ew Boston"; and this designation was 
afterwards changed to "West Boston," and it is now 
not unfrequently called the " West End." One portion 
of this End gained the soubriquet of " The Hill," and 
sometimes other appellatives not quite so euphonious. 
In more modem times, when Dorchester E'eck and 
Point were annexed to Boston by an act of the General 
Court passed on the sixth of March, 1804, the territory 
acquired by the town took the name of " South Boston." 
The land which took the place of the Millpond, as it was 
filled up, was known as the " ]S"ew Land," from the year 
1804. Noddle's Island was called " East Boston " at the 
time of the establishment of the company which laid it 
out into lots, and which was incorporated on the twenty- 
fifth of March, 1833. The land reclaimed from the har- 
bor by the South Cove Company, incorporated on the 
thirty-first of January of the same year. (1833), retained 
the name of the " South Cove." The land at the west 
of Charles street was distinguished as the "Back Bay 
and Commonwealth Lands," and that on the northerly 
side of the western avenue was styled the " Mill-Dam 
Land," while that northwest of the State House was 
designated as " Mount Yernon." 

Yery early in the history of the town, the ungranted 
land around Copp's Hill (or, as it was then called, Wind- 


mill Hill or Snow Hill) was known as the "Mylne 
Field" or "Mill Field"; that around Fort HiU, the "Fort 
Field"; that at the :N'eek, the ":N'eck Field," or the Field 
towards Eoxbury; that where Beacon HUl Place now is, 
" Gentry Hill Field"; and that west of Lynde street, and 
north of Cambridge street, the "JSTew Mill Field," or 
shorter, the "l^ew Field." The land lying between 
Sudbury and Gouch streets and Bowdoin square and 
the Mill Gove was known very early as " Boling Green " 
or " Bowling Green," a name which also was temporarily 
given to a portion of the land upon Fort HOI, a little 
more than a century ago. " Valley Acre " was situated 
south of Howard street, on the northerly slope of that 
portion of Beacon Hill known as Pemberton's Hill, and 
extended westward nearly to Bowdoin street, and east- 
ward not far from the comer of Tremont and Howard 

Besides the fields there were many pastures, so 
called: Ghristopher Stanley's was at the IN^orth End, 
covering the region of I^orth Bennet street, between 
Hanover and Salem street; Buttolph's was south of 
Cambridge street; Tucker's, in the neighborhood of 
Lyman street; Rowe's, east of Rowe street; Wheeler's, 
where the southerly end of Chauncy street is; Atkin- 
son's, where A.tkinson street was a few years ago, 
and where Congress street now is; Leverett's, one, 
where Leverett street is, and another, bounded by 
"Winter and Tremont streets; Middlecott's, where the 
northerly part of Bowdoin street is; Blaxton's Gar- 
den, west of Louisburg square; and a very large 
number of other great lots, most of which are kept 
in remembrance by the streets which have been laid 
out through them. 


Very soon after the establishment of the Massachu- 
setts Colony, the different towns within the jurisdiction 
were required to keep watches and wards; and con- 
sequently in. these towns militaiy organizations were 
commenced, and trainbands and companies of horse 
raised. Boston, of course, complied with all the requi- 
sitions of the General Court, and raised its troops and 
armed its able-bodied men. After a while, as its popu- 
lation increased, the number of its military companies 
also increased. These were organized according to 
districts, which were in reality the miUtary wards, 
where the watches were kept. Wherever there was one 
of these trainbands, there was also a constable and one 
or more tithing-men; and to these were entrusted many 
details, which the townsmen did not require to be per- 
formed personally by " the men chosen to manage the 
town's affairs, " — the selectmen of a little later date. 
Thus was demonstrated the necessity of dividing the 
town into fixed districts, which, when accomplished, 
took the name of wards, — a name which they continue 
to hold to the present day. In the year 1662, there were 
evidently five of these divisions and five constables ; and 
in 1676, the same number; but in 1686, there were eight 
captains of companies and as many tithing-men. 

In this way matters went along very well, the con- 
stables distributing among the poor the money levied by 
rates, which in October, 1690, amounted to £412 4s. 6d. 
On the ninth of March, 1690-91, the townsmen voted, 
" that Mr. l^athaniell WilHams, Mr. Benjamine "Walker, 
Mr. William Coleman, and Mr. Symeon Stoddard be 
Overseers of the Poore of this Towne for the yeare en- 
sueing"; and thus originated in name the first Board of 
Overseers of the Poor in Boston. On the day of their 


election, " the foure overseers, together with the Towns 
TreasTir' are desired and apoynted a coiiiittee to drawe 
vp and present vnto the Generall Court, such proposalls, 
as they shall aprehend needfuU for the orderinge and 
improveing of them to imply and set the poore aworke "; 
by which it appears that though the poor were provided 
for by the town, nevertheless the town could get no 
return in the way of labor from those whom it had ma- 
terially befriended. The overseers faithfully attended to 
the " desire " of the townsmen, and obtained an act which 
was passed by the General Court in the fourth year of the 
reign of William and Mary, being by common computa- 
tion on the sixteenth of !N"ovember, 1692. This act 
forms part of an act for regulating of townships and 
town-officers and setting forth their power. It gives 
power to the freeholders, and other inhabitants of towns 
ratable at twenty pounds estate, to assemble yearly in 
March and choose, among other town officers. Overseers 
of the Poor, who shall be " able and discreet, of good 
conversation, inhabiting within said town." These 
Overseers, or the Selectmen of the towns where no over- 
seers are chosen, were "improved and ordered to take 
effectual Care that all Children, Youth, and other persons 
of able Body, living within the same Town or Precincts 
thereof (not having Estates otherwise to maintain them- 
selves) do not Hve idly, or mispend their time in loitering; 
but that they be brought up or imployed in some honest 
Calling, which may be profitable to themselves, and the 
Publick." It also fully provides for binding out poor 
children as apprentices, the boys until they arrive at the 
age of twenty-one years, and the girls until the age of 
eighteen years or time of marriage. In the year 1720, a 
supplementary act was passed requiring that the boys 


should be taught to read and write, and the girls to read, 
" as they respectively may be able," and the overseers 
were required also to inquire into the usage of the chil- 
dren bound out, and endeavor to defend them from any 
wrongs or injuries. 

So matters went on, and the town annually chose 
seven Overseers of the Poor, that number corresponding 
as nearly as possible with that of the trainbands, until 
the year 1713, when for good reasons a more permanent 
division of the town was desired for carrying on its 
prudential concerns j and the townsmen took the initia- 
tive in causing the town to be set off into definite pre- 
cincts or wards, as will be seen by what follows. 

At a public town meeting of the freeholders and other 
inhabitants of the town duly qualified, held on the thir- 
teenth of May, 1713, it was voted " That there be Eight 
Scavengers for eight several parts of the Town, and their 
perticular. distinct Precinct be under the Regulation of 
the Selectmen." This vote of the townsmen was carried 
out by the selectmen at a meeting held on the eleventh of 
August, as is evident from the following record made by 
them: "Pursuant to the vote of the Inhabit*' of ye 
Town of Boston on the 13th of May last past. The s** 
Selectmen have now agreed upon a distribution of the 
town into distinct Wards or Precincts, as set forth in a 
Scheme or draught thereof in writing attested by y" 
Town Clerk, and lying on file with the Records of this 
Town." What this was does not exactly appear from 
any record j but the following votes of the Justices of 
the Peace, Overseers of the Poor, and the Board of 
Selectmen, passed February 1, 1714-15, shows that the 
town was not particularly divided until the year 1715 : — 
" Yoted, That there be a division made of this Town into 



Eight distinct Wards, in order to their inspecting each 
respective Ward." Also, " Voted, That it be left with 
the Selectmen to make such Division sutable to that 
occasion." The division made in accordance with the 
votes was reported to the same parties and agreed upon 
on the eighth of the same month, to wit: — 

"No. 1. IS'orth Ward. Bounded I^ortherly by 
Charles Kiver, and South by the North sides of Fleet 
Street & Bennet Street. 

" 2. Fleet- Ward. Bounded Northerly by the South 
side of Fleet Street and Bennet Street, and Southerly by 
Wood & Beer Lanes [Richmond street] . 

"3. Bridge-Ward. Bounded Northerly by Wood 
& Beer Lanes, and Southerly by the Mill Creek. 

" 4. Creek-Ward. Bounded Northerly by the Mill 
Creek, and Southerly by the North side of Wmg's Lane 
[Elm street] , & from the uper end thereof, the North 
side of Hanover Street to the Orange Tree [a noted 
landmark at the head of Hanover street at the corner of 
Court street,] and the North-East side of Cambridge 
Street [now the northerly end of Court street] . 

"5. Kings-Ward. Bounded Northerly by the 
South side of Wings lane, from the Uper end thereof 
the South side of Hannover Street, and the South- West- 
erly side of Cambridge Street, and Southerly by ye 
North side of King & Queens Streets [State and Court 
streets] to the Southward of the Writeing School House, 
Mr. Cotton's House the Southermost House. 

"6. Change-Ward. Bounded Northerly by the 
South sides of Kings and Queens streets, and Southerly 
by the North side of Milk Street, thence the West side 
of Malbrough street [part of Washington street between 
Milk and Summer streets] as far as Eawson's Lane 


[Bromfield street], the l^ortli side thereof, and the 
J^orth side of the Cofaon. 

"7. Pond-Ward. Bounded by the South-side of 
Milk Street, thence the East side of Malbrough Street 
as far as Kawson's Lane, the South side thereof, South- 
erly by the JS'orth side of West & Pond [the west end 
of Bedford street] Streets, Blind Lane [the east end of 
Bedford street], and thence the ]!^orth side of Slimmer 

"8. South-Ward.. Bounded ISTortherly by the 
South side of Summer Street, as far down as Church 
Green, the South side of Blind Lane, of Pond & West 
Streets, and Southerly by the Townes Southern bounds." 

Burgiss's Map, engraved in 1728, substantially shows 
these divisions by dotted lines. 

In this way things proceeded with eight wards, the 
town choosing eight and subsequently nine Overseers 
of the Poor, and conducting its affairs in the best man- 
ner possible, with its simple machinery. But after a 
whUe the town having increased much in point of popu- 
lation, the passage of an act of the General Court of the 
Province was obtained on the twenty-eighth of May, 
1735, empowering the town of Boston to choose twelve 
Overseers of the Poor and divide the peninsula into 
twelve wards. The Overseers were thereby empowered 
to erect a work-house for the poor, regulate the same, 
and receive donations for endowing it to the amount of 
three thousand pounds. The overseers were also to 
send idle and indigent persons to the work-house; to 
bind out the children of such as were not rated for their 
personal estate, and to warn intruders not inhabitants 
out of the town. It was further enacted by this act, 
" That where Persons bring up their children in such 


gross Ignorance, that they do not know, or are not able 
to distinguish the alphabet or twenty-four Letters at the 
age of si.f years, in such case the Overseers of the Poor 
are hereby impowered and directed to put or bind out 
into good Families, such Children, for a decent and 
Christian Education, as when Parents are indigent and 
rated nothing to the publick Taxes; unless the Children 
are judged uncapable, through some inevitable infirmity." 

After the passage of the above described act, the 
Overseers of the Poor, nine in number, were requested 
to attend an adjourned meeting of the townsmen held on 
the eighth of March, 1735-6, to give their opinion with 
respect to dividing the town into twelve wards. They 
attended in the afternoon, and " Jacob Wendell, Esq., in 
the name of the Overseers of the Poor Reported to the 
Town, That 'twas their opinion, It would be much for 
the Service of the said Town that it be divided into 
Twelve "Wards, and Proposed the MUitary Division of 
the Town, to their consideration." Whereupon it was 
" Yoted, That the gentlemen the Overseers of the Poor 
be a Committee to project a Division of the Town into 
Twelve Wards, and to make their Report thereof To- 
morrow, in order to the Towns proceeding thereon." 
On the next day Mr. Wendell reported as follows: 

" Pursuant to a Yote of the Town on the 8th Instant, 
Desiring the Overseers of the Poor to Divide the Town 
into Twelve Wards, They have accordingly attended 
that Service — and are of Opinion That the following 
Division will best serve the same — and Propose to be- 
gin with — 

" No. 1. From Charlestown Ferry on both sides of 
Prince Street to Gee's Comer, and the Westerly Side of 
Salem street, crossing over and taking in the Westerly 


side of Henchman's Lane to the Water side, and round 
the Beech to the Ferry Place again. 

" 2. From the lower end of Henchman's Lane, up 
the South Side thereof, crossing over to Elder Baker's 
corner down Salem Street as far as the Reverend Doctor 
Cutler's and thence down Love Street [Tileston Street] 
and Foster Lane [Clark Street] the ISTorth Sides into 
Ship Street [ISTorth Street] including both sides thereof, 
as far as Henchman's Lane, To which Rumney Marsh 
[Chelsea] is annex'd. 

" 3. From the North East corner of Love Street, 
runing up the South Side of it thro', by the Reverend 
Doctor Cutler's and down Salem Street to Peirce's Corner 
and up Prince Street on the ll^^orth side, crossing over 
thro' Bell Alley [East part of Prince Street] on both 
sides as far as Foster Lane, including the south side of 
said Lane. 

" 4. From the North East Corner of Prince Street, 
running down the South Side as [far as] Boucher's cor- 
ner, and then on both sides of the way to the Mill-bridge, 
and from thence on the "West side of Middle Street 
[middle portion of Hanover Street] to Prince Street, tak- 
ing in the Square from Cop's corner down the North Side 
of -Wood Lane [Richmond Street] thro' Bell Alley to 
Capt. Wads worth's. 

" 5. From the North East corner of Wood Lane on 
the South Side into Middle Street, running on the North 
Side to the Mill Bridge, and then beginning at Byles's 
comer in Anne Sti-eet on both sides the way including 
the Dock and thro' Fish Street on both sides the way, as 
far as the Red Lion Wharf. 

" 6. From the Mill Bridge on both sides of Hanover 
street to Bradford's comer, crossing over to Cold Lane 


[Portland street] and thence running to Jackson's Still 
House, Returning thro' Kneeland's Lane into Sudbury 
Street taking in the Easterly side as far as the Orange 
Tree, and then running down Hanover Street on the 
Westerly side as far as Bradford's corner and thence on 
the IS'orth side of Wing's Lane into Union street on both 
sides to the Mill Creek. 

"7. From Barton's Point, thro' Leverett's street 
and Green Lane and Cambridge Street on both sides, 
talring in the Southerly side of Hawkins' Lane and 
round into Sudbury Street the Westerly side, crossing 
into Southack's Court [Howard Street] and thence cross- 
ing the Hill to the Water side. 

" 8. From the South East corner of Wing's Lane 
running upon the Southerly side of it, and so on the 
easterly side of Hanover street and then running down 
on the Westerly side of Queen and King Street on the 
Long Wharf, and thro' Merchants' Eow to Mr. Jackson 
(the Brasier's) Shop, taking in Dock Square. 

" 9. From Mr. Bowdoin's corner in Treamount Street, 
taldng in the Westerly side of Beacon Street down to 
the bottom of the Common, then taking the IsTorth side 
of School and Milk Street, as far as Horn Lane [Bath 
Street], thro' Water Street to Oliver's Dock, running 
thro' Mackarel Lane [Kilby Street] , and then including 
the south sides of King and Queen Streets. 

" 10. From Mr. Secretary Willard's running down 
on the I^orth side of Rawson's Lane crossing over to 
Penniman's comer running down on the N^ortherly side 
of Summer Street as far as Cow Lane [High Street] , and 
so over the Hill as far as the N"ortherly side of Mr. 
Hubbard's Land, and then round by Hallowell's Ship- 
yard to Milk Street, thence running on the Southerly 


side, including the South Meeting House Square, and 
then taking in the South side of School Street. 

" 11. From the South corner of Rawson's Lane 
down the Common, as far as West Street, thence run- 
ning down the Il^orth side of Pond street and Blind 
Lane into Summer Street, thro' Barton's Rope Walk as 
far as Mr. Hubbard's thence up the Hill, and then down 
Cow Lane, the South East side into Summer Street, 
and then the Southerly side of Summer street, thence 
crossing over and taking the Westerly side of Marl- 
borough Street as far as Rawson's Lane, including the 
South side of said Lane. 

" 12. From the School House in the Common down 
the South side of Pond Lane as far as the Bull Wharf 
[end of Summer street], including the Whole of the 

" All which is Humbly Submitted by 

"Your Humble Servants, 

"Jacob Wendell, 
"William Tyler, 
" Jeffert Bedgood, 
" John Hill, 
" Thomas Hubbard. 

"Boston, 19th Mar. 1735." 

Whereupon it was " Voted, That the Report of the 
said Committee be accepted, and that the Town of Bos- 
ton be, and hereby is Divided into Twelve Wards or 
Districts according to the said Report; And that it so 
remain and continue, until the Town shall see cause to 

alter the same." 

In the above manner this division of Boston into 
twelve wards was brought about, a number which has 


been strictly adhered to, although the boundaries hare 
been different at various times, for a hundred and thirty 
three years. In the year 1868, however, the addition of 
the territory of Eosbury made it imperative to increase 
the number to fifteen; and hi 1870 it became necessary 
to add the sixteenth, in consequence of the annexation of 



Divisions of tlie Town, continued • • ■ Names and Relaiive Position of tlie 
Wards • • ■ Dimensions of the Natural Divisions, and the Number of Houses 
in each in 1784 ■ • • The Old Fortification • • ■ Old Causeway • • -May's Grant in 
1785 • • • Curious Bend in the South End Streets • • • The Green Stores • • -The 
Gallows • • • Old Windmill • • • Native Trees • • • Pavement • • ■ Charter Pro- 
vision for Dividing the City into Wards, and for Changing the Boundaries 
once in Ten Years • • • East Boston as a Ward • • • South Boston as a Ward 
■ ■ • Act of Legislature for re-establishing Wards • • • The last Division of 
Wards • ■ • Commencement of the Municipal Year . ■ ■ Places and Manner of 
Voting • • • Choice of Selectmen and Ward Officers • • • Source of the Charles 
River, the Northern and Western Boundary of Boston ■ • ■ Neponset 
River • ■ • Mother Brook • ■ • Muddy Brook • • • Stony Brook. 

Ijs" the last chapter it was shown that in the early 
days of the town, the Military and Civil Divisions were 
identical. This remained to be the case until necessity 
required a larger number of wards than of military com- 
panies. In the two early divisions given, it appears that 
the names of the wards were selected from something 
notable connected with them, chiefly from their principal 
street or their position. For instance, in the first division 
of 1715, the North and South Wards were the most north- 
erly and southerly in the town; Fleet Ward had in it 
Fleet street, and Bang's Ward had King street; Bridge, 
Creek, Change and Pond wards had severally the bridges 
over the Mill Creek and the dock, the Mill Creek, the 
"change," and the "town's watering place," — the last 



more frequently known as "Wheeler's Pond," or the 
" Town Pond," which was situated at the south part of 
the town, as wiU be related hereafter. In the division 
of 1736, the wards were named: 1 — Charter Street 
"Ward; 2 — North Street Ward; 3 —Fleet Street Ward; 
4 — Pond Ward (after the MUl Pond, instead of the 
Watering Place) ; 5 — Ann Street Ward; 6 — Hanover 
Streetward; 7 — Cambridge Street Ward; 8 — Bong 
Street Ward; 9 — Comhill Ward; 10 — Marlborough 
Street Ward; 11 — Summer Street Ward; and 12 — 
Orange Street Ward. Pour of these, and a large part 
of the fifth, were comprised in the IsTorth End, north 
of the MUl Creek; the sixth and eighth east of Sud- 
bury street and north of Court and State streets; the 
seventh north of Beacon HiU and west of Sudbury 
street; and the others south of a line running through 
Long Wharf, State and Court streets, across the hUls to 
West Hill which was a short distance from the westerly 
end of Cambridge street. 

It may not be uninteresting to know, that, in the 
year 1784, just as the town was beginning to recover 
from the effects of the war of the Revolution, about 
four years after the adoption of the constitution of the 
Commonwealth, and about as many before the ratification 
of the Federal constitution, the ISTorth End contained 
about six hundred and eighty dwelling-houses and tene- 
ments, and six meeting-houses. Though it had formerly 
been the court end of the town, even at the above-named 
period it had begun to lose its former prestige, and gave 
unquestionable evidence of decay and unpopularity. 
From the Mill Bridge to Winnisimmet Ferryways, it 
measured albout eight hundred and three yards, while its 
breadth fi-om Charles River Bridge to the water .side, 


near the present Commercial Wharf, was about seven 
hundred and twenty-six yards. 

I^ew Boston, the West End, contained at the same 
period one meeting-house and about one hundred and 
seventy dwelling-houses and tenements j and, although 
the smallest and least populous of the divisions, was 
regarded then as a very pleasant and healthy part of the 
town, on account of its westerly situation, where it had 
plenty of agreeable inland breezes, and was compara- 
tively sheltered from the easterly winds. 

The South End was by far the most extensive in point 
of territory of all the natural divisions of the town, being 
in length from the fortification on the neck to the Mill 
Bridge about one mile and seven hundred and sixteen 
yards, with a breadth of about eleven hundred and fifty 
yards. It contained all the public buildings, except the 
Powder House, which at that time was near Cambridge 
street, ten meeting-houses, and about twelve hundred 
and fiLfty dwelling-houses. Being the seat of business, it 
was the most flourishing part of the town, and contained 
the principal shops and warehouses. Some of the man- 
sion houses of this part would now be considered mag- 
nificent j and the common, though perhaps not so artis- 
tically laid out with paths and malls as now, was as 
delightful as a training ground and public walk as at 
the present time. 

The portion of the South End situated south of 
Dover street had so few inhabitants before the Revo- 
lution that it was seldom taken into account in describ- 
ing the town. This part of Boston has so increased in 
population and in business the last decade of years that 
it has completely thrown the city from its old balance, 
and has now really become the only true South End of 


the city. One road, or highway, ran through it from 
Dover street to the Eoxbury line in old times, and it was 
then generally known as the ]S"eek Field, or the Field 
towards Eoxbury. Yery early after the settlement of 
the town, a fortification was buUt at the northerly end of 
this highway. It was chiefly of brick, with embrasures 
in front and places for cannon on its flanks, and a deep 
ditch on its south side. It was erected as a fortification 
against any sudden attack by the Indians, and had two 
gates, one for carriages and teams, and another for per- 
sons on foot. Regular watches and wards were kept 
near it, not only in compliance with the orders of the 
General Court of the Colony, but also as a prudential 
act of the town; and such was the observance of this 
duty that the townsmen felt perfectly secure within the 
town. A little to the south of this had been placed in 
earlier times a row of palisades. After the disappearance 
of the hostile Indians, there being no necessity for the 
protection, the whole fortification fell to decay; and it 
was not until the year 1710 that another of regular con- 
struction was established at the N"eck, a few feet south 
of the present Dover street. This was more substantial 
than that which had preceded it, as it was thoroughly 
built of stone and brick, with a breastwork of earth and 
proper gates. Dams also extended for some distance, 
each side of the Neck near the fortification, and these 
were kept in good repair by the town, as is manifest by 
the votes occasionally to be found in the town records. 
About the twenty-ninth of March, 1860, as workmen were 
engaged in removing the earth in the neighborhood of 
these old works, for the purpose of laying a drain, the 
stone foundations of the old fortification were discovered, 
and to a considerable extent exposed to view. The exact 


position was ascertained to be precisely in front of the 
southwest corner of the Williams Market House. For 
a long distance fextending south of Dover street, and on 
the westerly side of Washington street, reaching as far 
as Union Park street, there was also a causeway built of 
stone ; parts of which, in the neighborhood of the gas- 
ometer, north of Waltham street, and also farther south, 
near the Unitarian meeting-house on Union Park street, 
were to be seen as late as the year 1868. 

Old plans, made many years ago, show that, previous 
to the year 1785, there stood on the westerly side of the 
highway above mentioned, and extending from the forti- 
fication to a point opposite where Maiden street now is, 
a few rods south of Union Park street, a picket fence; 
which, in the year above alluded to, gave way to the 
stone causeway, a grant having been made that year by 
the town to Stephen Gore, John May, and others, of a 
tract of land and flats bounded by the present JMalden 
street on the south about nine hundred feet, thence run- 
ning north on a well-remembered causeway fourteen 
hundred feet long, to a point within one hundred and 
twenty-five feet of Dover street, thence west on a line 
about parallel to Dover street one hundred and thirty- 
two feet six inches, till it reached the highway. A strip 
of land two hundred feet wide, of the same length (1,400 
feet) on the west side of the highway was included in 
the same grant, the highway being eighty feet in width, 
the grant embracing all east of the highway to low- 
water mark. To this grant a condition was attached, 
that barriers should be erected for excluding the 
tide waters. This gave origin to the old cause- 
way which formerly stood east of Washington and 
south of Dover streets. This large tract of land was 


subsequently divided into fourteen lots, one hundred feet 
wide, and extending from the eastern to the western 
boundaries, the highway dividing each of the lots into 
two by aii angular line; but to avoid this bevel towards 
the street, a bend was made, so that the estates present 
right angles to the street, and a bend a short distance 
from it. This bend, which may be noticed, extending 
from Dover street to Maiden street, shows the high- 
water mark, on the easterly side, the bevelled line run- 
ning east to low-water mark or the channel of the South 
Bay, or Eoxbury Bay, sometimes also called Gallows 
Bay in ancient writiags. On a portion of this land 
stood the old stores of the late John D. Williams, Esq., 
noted landmarks of former days, under the name of the 
" Green Stores," on account of the peculiar fancy which 
the owner had to that color. 

It may be interesting to some to know that, on the 
city lands just south of the above-mentioned ground, 
and east of the highway, near Maiden street, used to 
stand the gallows in times of execution. It is said 
that one of the posts of this old landmark formed a 
boundary mark for Col. May's lot, and that a painted 
sign upon it gave information to that effect. In later 
times culprits were hung further south, not far from the 
rear of the present burial-ground on the Neck; but now 
this dreadful work is performed with proper privacy in 
the jail-yard. Further south, on the way to Koxbury, 
stood the old windmill, which was blown down during 
the great gale that did so much damage, on the twenty- 
third of October, 1761. 

In 1784, there were no buildiags below the fortifica- 
tion except a few stores. A portion of the land was cov- 
ered with trees of native growth; and from time to time, 


after the highway was laid out, trees were set out on the 
sides of the road. In the year 1758, the towns-people 
began to pave the street leading to the neck, partly at 
the expense of the town, and partly by private subscrip- 

The second section of the city charter made it the 
duty of the Selectmen, as soon as might be after the 
passing of the act, to cause a new di^sion of the town 
to be made into twelve wards, each of which should as 
nearly as possible ' contain the same number of inhabi- 
tants, the basis for the computation being the last pre- 
vious census of the United States. This division being 
somewhat objectionable, an amendment was procured in 
1850, so that the number of legal voters should form the 
basis of the division, instead of the number of the inhab- 
itants. The City Council was also empowered to alter 
such division once in ten years; which authority it has 
exercised three times, in the years 1838, 1850 and 1866. 
The new city charter which was adopted by the citizens 
on the thirteenth of IS'ovember, 1854, provided for a new 
division of the city during the year 1860; but this did not 
then take place, in consequence of a provision of the 
General Statutes of the Commonwealth, that " no new 
division of wards shall be made in the city of Boston 
previous to the next apportionment of senators and repre- 
sentatives," which occurred subsequently in 1865. "When 
this new arrangement was made, the wards were neces- 
sarily very much changed, in consequence of the very 
rapid growth of several parts of the city, while other 
parts have been comparatively stationary. To enumer- 
ate all the changes that have been made in the twelve 
wards since their first estabhshment in 1736 would be 
needless ; yet it may not be out of place here to mention. 


that when Dorchester I^eck and Point were annexed to 
the town, they hecame part of the twelfth ward; and it 
was not until the new districting of the city by an ordi- 
nance passed the twentieth of September, 1838, that 
Soutli Boston became a ward of itself under the name 
of Ward XII. This ward became so large at the new 
re-division in 1865, that it was found necessary to assign 
part of it to Ward YTI. 

The islands in Boston Harbor at different times 
belonged to different wards. At the time of the adop- 
tion of the city charter in 1822, they were included in 
Ward rV. ; and consequently INToddle's Island, which in 
1833 took the name of Bast Boston, was part of this ward, 
untU by a City ordinance, passed on the twenty-fourth 
of June, 1850, to take effect on and after the second 
Monday of the following December, Bast Boston and 
the Islands were made a ward by themselves, called 
Ward II. By the re-division in 1865 the Island Ward, 
together with the islands, was designated as Ward I. 

At the present day it would be almost preposterous 
for any one to state that when South Boston became 
part of the city in 1804, it had only ten families on its 
five hundred and sixty acres of territory, and that in 
1833 there was only about one-tenth as many inhabitants 
upon Bast Boston; both of which facts are equally true, 
as they are equally astonishing to modern wonderers. 

By an act of the legislature of the commonwealth, 
approved on the sixth of February, 1865, the several 
cities in Massachusetts were empowered to make a new 
division of their wards, not, however, to go into effect 
before the tenth day of ]S^ovember in any year in which 
said new division shall be made. Consequently the years 
1865, 1875, 1885, etc., will be the years for this purpose. 


On the tenth of November, 1865, the mayor approved 
an ordinance providing for a new division of the wards, 
based upon the number of voters, which took effect on 
the eighteenth of ISTovember of the same year. By this 
ordinance the old number of twelve wards was retained, 
although the boundaries were much changed. On the 
sixth of January, 1868, the city of Koxbury became by 
annexation a part of Boston, and at the suggestion of 
the mayor was designated as the Boston Highlands. 
By the act of annexation of the two municipalities, the 
Roxbury portion, which had constituted five wards, was 
newly districted by an ordinance approved on the eighth 
of iNovember, 1867, dividing that part of the city into 
three wards, numbered thirteen, fourteen and fifteen. 
By an act of the legislature on the annexation of Dor- 
chester, its territory became the sixteenth ward of Boston 
on the third of January, 1870. The division of the city 
into sixteen wards is as follows : 

'No. 1. — All that part of the city called East Boston, 
and all the Islands in the harbor. 

I^o. 2. — Beginning at the water at Warren Bridge; 
thence by the centre of the avenue leading from "Warren 
Bridge to Causeway street; thence by the centre of 
Causeway street to Haverhill street; thence through the 
centre of Haverhill street to Haymarket square; thence 
across Haymarket square to the centre of Blackstone 
street; thence by the centre of Blackstone street to 
Clinton street; thence by the centre of Clinton street, 
and by a line in the same direction with Clinton street 
to the water; thence by the water to the point of begin- 

JN^-Q. 3. — Beginning at the water at the easterly end 
of Cambridge Bridge; thence by the centre of Cambridge 



street to Staniford street- thence by the centre of Stani- 
ford street to Green street; thence by the centre of 
Green street to Leverett street; thence by the centre of 
Leverett street to Causeway street; thence by the centre 
of Causeway street to a line on the northerly side of the 
Fitchburg depot to the water, and thence by the water 
to the point of beginning. 

"No. 4. — Beginning at the water at the end of Clinton 
street; thence by the centre of Clinton street to Black- 
stone street; thence by the centre of Blackstone street to 
Haymarket square; thence across Haymarket square to 
Haverhill street; thence by the centre of Haverhill street 
to Causeway street; thence by the centre of Causeway 
street to Leverett street; thence by the centre of Lever- 
ett street to Green street; thence by the centre of Green 
street to Staniford street; thence by the centre of Stani- 
ford street to Cambridge street; thence by the centre of 
Cambridge street to Temple street; thence by the centre 
of Temple street and Mount Vernon street to Park street; 
thence by the centre of Park street to Tremont street; 
thence by the centre of Tremont street to Winter street; 
thence by the centre of "Winter street to Washington 
street, thence by the centre of Washington street to 
Milk street; thence by the centre of Milk street to India 
street; thence across India street by a straight line to 
the water on the south side of Central wharf; thence 
by the water to the point of beginning. 

No. 5. — Beginning at the water on the south side of 
Central wharf; thence across India street by a straight 
line to Milk street; thence by the centre of Mjlk street 
to Washington street; thence by the centre of Washing- 
ton street to Winter street; thence by the centre of 
Winter street to Tremont street; thence by the centre 


of Tremont street to Boylston street; thence by the cen- 
tre of Boylston street to Washington street; thence by 
the centre of Washington street to Beach street; thence 
by the centre of Beach street to Federal street; thence 
by the centre of Federal street to Mount Washington 
avenue ; thence by the northerly side of Mount Washing- 
ton avenue to the water; thence by the water to the 
point of beginning. 

l^o. 6. — Beginning at the water at the easterly end 
of Cambridge Bridge; thence by the centre of Cam- 
bridge street to Temple street; thence by the centre of 
Temple and Mount Vernon streets to Park street; 
thence by the centre of Park street to Tremont street; 
thence by the centre of Tremont street to Boylston 
street; thence by the centre of Boylston street to Ar- 
lington street; thence by the centre of Arlington street 
to Commonwealth avenue; thence by the centre of 
Commonwealth avenue to the boundary line between 
Boston and Eoxbury; thence by said boundary line in a 
northerly direction to the water; thence by the water to 
the point of beginning. 

N^o. 7. — Beginning at the northerly side of Mount 
Washington avenue; thence by the northerly side of 
Mount Washington avenue to the centre of Federal 
street; thence by the centre of Federal street to Beach 
street; thence by the centre of Beach street to Albany 
street; thence by the centre of Albany street to Curve 
street; thence by the centre of Curve street to Harrison 
avenue; thence by the centre of Harrison avenue to 
Dover street; thence by the southerly side of Dover 
street Bridge to the water line of South Boston (so 
called) ; thence by water line to the Old Colony and 
Newport Eailroad track at the crossing in Dorchester 


avenue; thence by the track of the Old Colony and 
^Newport Railroad to E street; thence by the centre of 
E street to the water; and thence by the water line, in- 
cluding the property known as Boston Wharf, to the 
point of beginning. 

'No. 8. — Beginning at the centre of Boylston street 
at its junction with Carver street; thence by the centre 
of Boylston street to Washington street; thence by the 
centre of Washington street to Beach street; thence by 
the centre of Beach street to Albany street; thence by 
the centre of Albany street to Curve street; thence by 
the centre of Curve street to Harrison avenue; thence 
by the centre of Harrison avenue to Indiana street; 
thence by the centre of Indiana street to Washington 
street; thence by the centre of Washington street to 
Pleasant street; thence by the centre of Pleasant street 
to Carver street; thence by the centre of Carver street 
to the point of beginning. 

No. 9. — Beginning at the centre of Carver street at 
its junction with Boylston street; thence by the centre 
of Carver street to Pleasant street; thence by the centre 
of Pleasant street to Washington street; thence by the 
centre of Washington street to Indiana street; thence 
by the centre of Indiana street to Harrison avenue; 
thence by the centre of Hari'ison avenue to Florence 
street; thence by the centre of Florence street, crossing 
Washington street, to Chapman street; thence by the 
centre of Chapman street to Tremont street; thence by 
the centre of Tremont street, crossing Berkeley street, 
to Warren avenue; thence by the centre of Warren 
avenue, crossing Columbus avenue, to [ffewton street; 
thence by the centre of I^ewton street to the track of 
the Boston and Providence Railroad; thence by the 


track of the Boston and Providence Railroad to the 
boundary line between Boston and Koxburyj thence by 
the boundary line between Boston and Roxbury to its 
junction with Commonwealth avenue; thence by the 
centre of Commonwealth avenue to Arlington street; 
thence by the centre of Arlington street to Boylston 
street; and thence by the centre of Boylston street to 
the point of beginning. 

No. 10. — Beginning at the junction of Florence 
street with Harrison avenue; thence by the centre of 
Florence street, crossing Washington sti^eet, to Chap- 
man street; thence by the centre of Chapman street to 
Tremont street; thence by the centre of Tremont street 
crossing Berkeley street, to Warren avenue ;• thence by 
the centre of "Warren avenue to BrooMine street; thence 
by the centre of Brookline street, crossing Albany street 
in a direct line to the water; thence by the water line to 
the northerly side of Dover street Bridge; thence by 
the centre of Harrison avenue to the point of beginning. 

'No. ]1. — Beginning at the boundary line between 
Boston and Roxbury on the Boston and Providence 
Railroad; thence by the centre of the track of the Bos- 
ton and Providence Railroad to ^Newton street; thence 
by the centre of !N"ewton street, crossing Columbus av- 
enue, to Warren avenue; thence by the centre of War- 
ren avenue to Brookline street; thence by the centre of 
Brookline street, crossing Albany street in a direct line 
to the water; thence by the water to the boundary line 
between Boston and Roxbury; thence by said boundary 
line to the point of beginning. 

No. 12. — All that section of the city now known as 
South Boston, lying south of the centre of E street and 
south and southwest of the track of the Old Colony and 


Newport Railroad from its crossing at Dorchester 

iN'o. 13. — Beginning at the centre of "Washington 
street at the hne heretofore existing between Boston and 
Eoxbury; thence by the centre of said street to Guild 
row 5 thence by the centre of Guild row to Dudley street; 
thence by the centre of Dudley street to Eustis [now 
Dudley] street; thence by the centre of Eustis [now 
Dudley] street to the boundary line between Eoxbury 
and Dorchester; thence on said boundary -line to the 
boundary line heretofore existing between Boston and 
Eoxbury; thence on said boundary line between Boston 
and Eoxbury to the point of beginning. 

l^o. 14. — Beginning at the centre of "Washington 
street at the boundary line heretofore existing between 
Boston and Eoxbury; thence by the centre of said street 
to Guild row; thence by the centre of GuUd row to Dud- 
ley street; thence by the centre of Dudley street to 
Eustis [now Dudley] street; thence by the centre of 
Eustis [now Dudley] street to the boundary line between 
Eoxbury and Dorchester; thence on said boundary liae 
to the boundary line between "West Eoxbury and Eox- 
bury ; thence on said boundary line between "West Eox- 
bury and Eoxbury to the centre of Shawmut avenue, at 
the point where it crosses said line ; thence by the centre 
of Shawmut avenue to Bartlett street; thence by the 
centre of Bartlett street to Dudley street; thence by the 
centre of Dudley street to Putnam street; thence by the 
centre of Putnam street to Shailer avenue, so called; 
thence by the centre of Shailer avenue, so called, to 
Cabot street; thence by the centre of Cabot street to 
Culvert street; thence by the centre of Culvert street to 
Tremont street; thence by the centre of Tremont street 


to the boundary line hitherto existing between Boston 
and Roxbury; thence by said boundary line between 
Boston and Eoxbury to the point of beginning. 

1^0. 15. — Beginning at the centre of Tremont street, 
at the boundary line heretofore existing between Boston 
and Eoxbury; thence by the centre of Tremont street 
to Culvert street; thence 'by the centre of Culvert street 
to Cabot street; thence by the centre of Cabot street to 
Shailer avenue, so called; thence by the centre of Shailer 
avenue, so called, to Putnam sti'eet; thence by the centre 
of Putnam street to Dudley street; thence by the centre 
of Dudley street to Bartlett street; thence by the centre 
of Bartlett street to Shawmiit avenue; thence by the 
centre of Shawmut avenue to the boundary line between 
West Koxbury and Eoxbury ; thence on said line between 
West Koxbury and Eoxbury to the boundary line between 
BrooMine and Roxbury; thence on said boimdary line 
between BrooMine and Roxbury to the boundary line 
heretofore existing between Boston and Roxbury; thence 
on said boundary line between Boston and Roxbury to 
the point of beginning. 

^o. 16. — All that part of the city which formerly 
constituted the town of Dorchester. 

Before leaving the wards of the town, it may be well 
to notice the fact, that in the olden time the practice was 
to choose the town officers in the month of March, which 
accordiag to the Old Style of reckoning time was consid- 
ered the First Month, the civil year commencing on the 
twenty-fifth day. As the election took place during the 
early part of the month, it would be almost impossible to 
decide what year was intended by records, were it not 
for the custom of our forefathers to double date, — a 
plan which the readers of these chapters must have fre- 


quently noticed, as many quotations have been given 
from the old records which required such a distinction. 
In 1752 the 'New Style came into use in Great Britaia 
and its Provinces ; and consequently on that year the 
civil, as well as the historical year began on the first day 
of January, and the necessity for double-datiag became 
unnecessary. On the adoption of the city charter on the 
fourth of March, 1822, the day for the municipal election 
was fixed to be the second Monday of April; and this 
time continued in use for that purpose tmtU the year 
1825, when the second Monday of December was adopted 
by legislative consent, so that the city officers could com- 
mence their term of service on the first Monday of Janu- 
ary after their election. A revised city charter continu- 
ing this amendment was adopted on the thirteenth of 
l^ovember, 1854, by a vote of 9,166 against 990. 

Previous to the adoption of the city charter, the town 
elections were held at the town house, until the year 
1743, when they took place in Paneuil Hall, which 
was first opened for public use on the fourteenth of 
March, 1742-3, for the purpose of paying a tribute of 
respect to the "memory of the generous donor, Peter 
Faneuil, Esq., who had died on the third day of the 
same month. 

Voting was performed in the olden time ia various 
ways ; sometimes in the manner called " viva voce," and 
sometimes by " uplifted hands." Yery early the ballot 
was taken with corn and beans, the former being for the 
aflSrmative. Written ballots were used very strictly 
until the year 1830, when Hon. David Henshaw intro- 
duced printed tickets at the polls, and was sustained in 
the use of them by a decision of the Supreme Court, 
made at the March term of that year. 


On the first settlement of the town, the good people 
were accustomed to delegate the minor details of town 
prudentials to ten men, who we are told were chosen " to 
manage the townes affaires." These were to all intents 
just what the Selectmen of towns are at the present 
day; and, indeed, in the year 1642, we find this appella- 
tion applied to them. The number ten was not always 
adhered to; for sometimes, it appears, seven, eight and 
nine only were chosen, nine being the favorite number, 
which after a while became permanent. The old act of 
1692 provided that each town in the Province should 
sometime in March choose three, five, seven, or nine per- 
sons, "able and discreet, of good conversation," to be 
Selectmen; an older act, passed in 1670, in colony times, 
provided for the election of Selectmen, the number not 
exceeding niae. It is probable that these acts were 
strictly followed by our forefathers; and that conse- 
quently, after the passage of the acts, they restricted 
themselves to the number nine. The old records show 
that besides the nine Selectmen, there were chosen at the 
same time a Town Clerk and Treasurer, and after the 
division of the town into twelve wards, twelve Overseers 
of the Poor, whose powers and duties were defined by 
acts of the Legislature passed ia 1735, 1785, and 1794, a 
due number of Tithing-men and Assessors, who in 1801 
were formed into a regular Board, consisting of three 
Permanent Assessors and twenty-four Assistant Assess- 
ors. The number twelve soon began to be popular, and 
after a while there were twelve Pirewards, twelve Clerks 
of the Market, twelve Constables, twelve Scavengers, 
twelve members of the Board of Health, and, in 1789, 
twelve members of the School Committee. Previous to 
that time the Selectmen, with the assistance of " learned 



men" as advisers, performed the duty satisfactorily, as 
did the first Board of Aldermen for many years, with 
the advice of twelve persons chosen in the several 

All may not know that the Charles River, which 
makes the northern and western boundary of the town, 
has its principal source in a pond lying in Milford called 
Cedar Swamp Pond, which is supplied by Deer Brook 
and other brooks running from Hopkinton, Holliston and 
Milford. In its course, running through Centre Village 
and Factory Village in Bellingham, it receives additional 
strength from Beaver Pond in that town; then running 
in an easterly direction between Medway and FranHin, it 
receives tribute from Hoppin Brook and Chicken Brook 
coming from Holliston on the north, and from Mine 
Brook and Shepard's Brook from Franklin on the south, 
and from Mill Kiver leading from Wallamonopogue 
Pond and Archer's Pond in Wrentham on the south. 
Pursuing a northerly course between Medway and Sher- 
born on the west (where it receives an additional supply 
of water from Boggistere Brook, which in its turn is 
formed by the confluence of Town Brook from Winthrop 
Pond, Dapping Brook and Dirty Meadow Brook rising 
in Holliston and Sherborn), and Medfield and Dover on 
the east (with another supply from Stop River), passing 
through Wrentham, Walpole and Medfield, it passes 
through South ]S"atick, and takes an easterly direction. 
Leaving l^atick, it passes between ]S"eedham on the 
north, and Dover and Dedham on the south, taking in 
water from West !N"eedham Pond, and from Trout Brook, 
ISToanett's Brook in Dover, and a small stream from Ded- 
ham. In Dedham the river takes a strange freak; it 
sends off a small stream, called Mother Brook, to the 


Neponset River, and then taMng a somewhat sudden turn 
to the northwest, it leaves Needham on the southwest 
and West Eoxbury and I^I^ewton on the northeast, gain- 
ing a little strength from small streams on both sides. 
Havrag reached "Weston, it takes a northerly direction 
between Weston on the west, and Newton on the east, 
and again changes its direction to the east, leaving 
Waltham, Watertown, Cambridge and Charlestown on 
the north, and !N'ewton, Brighton, BrooHine and Eox- 
bury on the south; and bounding Boston on the west 
and north, passes into Boston Harbor. 

By the annexation of Dorchester to Boston, the ISTe- 
ponset River becomes the southern boundary of the city. 
This river takes its rise in the lowlands and meadows 
of the northerly part of Foxborough, in the county of 
l^orfolk; and, running northwardly through the centre 
of Walpole, it receives from Sharon, on the east, a slight 
increase of fresh water from Diamond Brook, and from 
Medfield, on the northwest, a more considerable aug- 
mentation from the waters of Mill Brook, which gets its 
main supply from the Great Spring in Dover, on the 
north, through Tubreck Brook. After entering Dedham 
in its northerly course, it has an addition on the west 
from Bubbling Brook, which, arising also in Dover, has 
supplies from brooks running from Walpole and Ded- 
ham, and from the considerable stream that forms the 
outlet for Buckminster's Pond, in Dedham; and all of 
these, uniting their waters, pass as Bubbling Brook 
through Hawes Brook into the l^eponset, at the south- 
erly part of South Dedham, just before meandering into 
Sharon, and then turning north, to form a tortuous boun- 
dary between Dedham and Hyde Park on the west and 
Canton and Milton on the east. Before, however, leav- 


ing South Dedham, it receives additional supply through 
Puflfer's Brook, and from Massapoag Pond, which dis- 
charges itself through a brook bearing the same name, 
both streams collecting their waters from the meadows 
of Sharon, and the latter gaining sufficient from Steep 
Brook, rising in Sharon, and Beaver Brook, and the 
waters of York Brook and Reservoir Pond, in Canton, 
to gain for this stream the name of the Eastern Branch 
of the IN^eponset Eiver. On this stream was established, 
in the year 1801, the foundry of the late Colonel Paul 
Revere, who cast so many church-bells and artillery- 
guns at the commencement of the present century, and 
whose rudely-engraved pictures and paper money are so 
well known to the lovers of revolutionary relics and 
memorials of the last century. Upon the stream that 
leads from Reservoir Pond, also in Canton, was the 
homestead of the celebrated Roger Sherman, who was 
so distinguished in the days of the American Revolution. 
After receiving on its easterly side the waters of Punka- 
paug Lake, which are conducted through the northerly 
part of Canton by a brook of the same name, the l!^epon- 
set runs to the southern boundary line of Hyde Park, 
and thence receives on the west the waters of Mother 
Brook. Thence this river, assuming size and additional 
importance, runs in a northeasterly course to Dorches- 
ter Bay, between Commercial Point and Squantum, sep- 
arating Boston from Milton and Quincy, and receiving 
in its course tributes from a few small brooks on both 
sides, and the more important Pine Tree Brook, in Mil- 
ton, and Sagamore Creek, in Quincy. This river, which 
has been of great importance at all periods of the his- 
tory of l!^ew England, and which is about thirty miles in 
length from its source in Poxborough to Boston Harbor, 


is navigable as far as Granite Bridge. Formerly, small 
vessels were accustomed to reach the Lower Mills, about 
three and a half miles, in a crooked course, from Com- 
mercial Point. 

The curious connection between Charles River and 
Neponset River, by means of Mother Brook, which sep- 
arates a smaU portion of Dedham near West Roxbury 
from the rest of the town, forms literally a large island 
territory, consisting of Brookline, Brighton, Newton, a 
small portion of Dedham, Dorchester, "West Roxbury, 
Roxbury and Boston. In its course the river is inter- 
rupted by several dams, producing, with the neighbor- 
ing scenery, picturesque falls, and giving power to many 
mUls and manufactories built upon its borders. From 
the mouth of the river back to the lower mill, it exple- 
riences all the changes consequent to the tides, and its 
waters are salt; but above this point, being supplied by 
brooks running from ponds, its waters are fresh. 

There are two other streams of water of considerable 
interest to Boston, known as Stony Brook and Muddy 
Brook. The first of these takes its rise from various 
points in the southwesterly part of West Roxbury; and 
its streamlets uniting about the centre of the town, the 
brook runs through the low parts of the town and Bos- 
ton Highlands, until it is emptied into the Back Bay, its 
waters finding their way to the harbor through Charles 
River. Muddy Brook, which forms the outlet for Ja- 
maica Pond and Ward's Pond, in West Roxbury, unites 
with another branch of brooklets from the central part 
of Brookline, and flowing in a very tortuous manner to 
the Back Bay, where it empties itself, forms the boun- 
dary line between Boston and Brookline. 



The Three Hills, Copp's, Fort and Beacon Hills • • • Appearance of the Hills on 
approaching the Town • • • Copp's HUl, and its earlier Names • . • The Old 
Windmill • • • Stanley's Pasture • ■ • Stanley's Gift to the Free School • • • An- 
cient Redoubt • • • Claim of the Artillery Company • • • Prospect from Copp's 
HUl • • ■ Burial Ground • • • Fort Hill, its Position and Early Name • • • Streets 
Leading to the Fort • • • Fort Field • • • Fortification on Fort Hill • • • Widow 
Tuthill's Windmill • • ■ The Mill Lane • • • Elder James Penn's Land on the 
HUl • • • Seizure of Andros • • • Charity School • • • Views of the Hill and Fort 
• . • Changes in the Neighborhood of Fort HiU. 

To Awz one approaching the old town of Boston, as 
it appeared at the time of its first settlement by Euro- 
peans in 1630, its most distinguislaing feature consisted 
in its several Mils, three of which, particularly prominent 
to the sight, were noticeable from all points of view, 
whether from the land or the sea. The most northerly of 
these, situated at the extreme north end of the town, 
between Hudson's and Merry's Points, has at various 
times been known as Windmill HjU, Snow Hill, and 
Copp's HUl, the last of which designations is most 
familiar to Bostonians. The most easterly, situated be- 
tween the Great and South Coves, and near the Port 
Point, bore at times the names Corn Hill and Fort HUl. 
But the largest, and by far the most remarkable of the 
three, was in the more westerly part of the peninsula, 
although some of its eminences, for it had many, ex- 
tended easterly almost to the most central portion of the 


town, and was early known as Treamount, and after- 
wards as Beacon Hill, with several names for its many 
peats and eminences. 

In the olden time, before the hand of modern civiliza- 
tion had reached these old landmarks — the familiar holi- 
day resorts of the forefathers of the town — the first 
objects that met the eye of the stranger who ventured 
to approach the capital of the Massachusetts Colony 
were the ancient windwill and its busy wings, the lone 
tenant of the north hill, grinding out the rich yellow 
corn of Indian origin, raised on nearly every garden lot 
on the peninsula J and the tall and sturdy beacon pole 
on the loftiest eminence of Treamount, sometimes topped 
with a blazing bonfire, the warning to the neighboring 
villagers that ganger was at handj and the old, but for- 
midable wooden breastwork, upon the Fort Hill, a safe 
reliance when the danger should come. 

Copp's Hill, though not very lofty, being only about 
fifty feet in height, rose with a gentle ascent from Hud- 
son's Point, whence the ferry boat of honest Francis 
Hudson, the fisTierman, started for Oharlestown. On its 
northerly side, fronting Charlestown, it presented some- 
what of an abrupt face, hke many of the bluffs, or heads 
of islands in the harbor; while the three sides, bounded 
by the streets now known as Charter, Prince and Salem 
streets, were of a gradual and easy slope. Upon the 
summit of this hUl there was a level plain, which in early 
days had been the site of a noted windmill, and from 
which the hill itself had taken its earliest remembered 
name " Windmill Hill," and the contiguous land around 
it that of the "Mylne Field," or "Mill Field," by which 
appellation it was most frequently known in the record 
of grants and conveyances of land made in that neigh- 


borhood in the olden time. The old -windmill had for- 
merly performed the accustomed work at a place some 
miles distant; for Governor Winthrop in his valuable 
journal informs us on the fourteenth of August, 1632, that 
" the windmill was brought downe to Boston, because 
(where it stoode neere If-town) [l^^ewton, perhaps a 
part of Cambridge], it would not grind but with a west- 
erly winde." In later days the same hill obtained the 
name of Snow Hill, a cognomen only kept in remem- 
brance by Snow Hill street, which in early times was 
content with a position on its northwesterly side, though 
it now, disturbing the earthly resting-place of the for- 
mer residents of the Korth End, sacrilegiously passes 
over the edge of the old bluff, extending itself in a 
northerly direction to Charter street on the northeast- 
erly side. Commercial street also has interposed itself 
between the hill and the water side, and HuU street has 
contracted its limits by separating it from its old western 
boundary. Prince street. After a lapse of time, the hill 
took another and more permanent name, which it now 
bears, Copp's Hill, probably after William Copp, an in- 
dustrious cobbler, who dwelt hard by on his half-acre, and 
owned a homestead there ; and who died in March 1670, 
aged sixty-one years, and was buried, as his family were, 
in the graveyard that was a few years earlier located on 
the brow of the hill. On the southerly slope of this hill 
was Stanley's Pasture, extending to Hanover street, and 
covering the large tract of land lying between Prince and 
Charter streets, the westerly end of Bennet street at its 
junction with Salem street being the centre of the lot. 
This individual was a tailor, if old records can be be- 
lieved, and dwelt near his pasture at the North End; 
he died not far from March 1646, at the age of forty- 


three years, a fit person to be remembered by Bosto- 
Bians, as the first who devised property to the town for 
the support of public schools; for in his will dated the 
twenty-seventh of March, 1646, we find the following, 
" It™, I give to the maintenance of the free-schoole at 
Boston a p'cell of land lying neere to the waterside & 
foure roads in length backward." 

During the siege of Boston in revolutionary times 
the British threw up a redoubt upon this hill, the para- 
pets of which were constructed of barrels filled with the 
natural soil of the place. At the battle of Bunker Hill 
on the seventeenth of June, 1775, the battery on Copp's 
Hill consisted of about six heavy guns and howitzers, 
three of which pieces, twenty-four pounders, were found, 
on the re-occupation of the town after its evacuation 
by the British on the seventeenth of March, 1776, spiked 
and clogged, so as to prevent their immediate use by the 
provincials. The vestiges of these works remained upon 
the hill — near the southwest corner of the old burial- 
ground — for many years after they were used by the 
British, and were a favorite playground for the ^orth 
End boys, until improvements to the neighborhood re- 
quired their removal. The Ancient and Honorable Artil- 
lery Company a long time ago claimed the ownership 
of a part of this hill, and is said to have occupied it on 
one occasion for parade and drUl during the war of the 
revolution, in consequence of being refused admittance 
to the Common, the place to which they had prescrip- 
tive right by their charter. After the British soldiery 
left Boston, the company made claim to it again by 
right of an old mortgage, which had run out without 
the redemption of the land; but this was subsequently 



Although the location of this eminence was such that 
it did not command a prospect of any considerable part 
of the town, even before the high and capacious build- 
ings of the present century were erected, nevertheless 
it afforded a good opportunity for viewing the towns of 
Charlestown and Chelsea, and a large part of the harbor 
and its pleasantly situated islands. In late years an 
agreeable number of thrifty trees have been transplanted 
on its summit by direction of the city authorities; and 
the spot has again become the holiday resort of the in- 
habitants residing in its neighborhood, who are wont on 
Sundays, and the evenings of the sultry days of summer, 
to refresh themselves with the breezes which still con- 
tinue to visit the old hill, though the wings of the wind- 
mill have long since ceased to move, and the grinder to 
garner in his toll from the scanty produce of the neigh- 
boring fields and garden plots. Many memories of the 
past, however, cling to this well known spot, and no old 
Bostonian visits the ancient monuments which tell of 
other days without a pious thought of the years that 
have passed away forever, and without recalling well 
remembered incidents and many recollections and asso- 
ciations of the pleasantest period of life. A description 
of the ancient burial-ground will be given hereafter when 
treating of the town cemeteries. 

Fort Hill, the second of the three great hills of Bos- 
ton, was situated at the easterly part of the town, on the 
promontory that projected easterly between the Great 
Cove at its north and the South Cove at its south. It 
was estimated, before any alteration had taken place in 
the contour of its summit, to be about eighty feet in 
height, and was quite extensive at its base, originally 
including under its name all that part of the town now 


lying between the water on the northeast, east and 
south, Atkinson's Pasture (the region between the pre- 
sent Federal and Pearl streets, but which were anciently 
known as Long Lane and Hutchinson's street) on the 
west, and on the northwest was a creek which in days 
long past ran through a marsh that occupied the space 
known as the lower part of Milk street, Kilby street and 
Liberty square, till it reached Oliver's Dock, at the north- 
erly part of Broad street, where it is crossed by Central 
street. On its northerly and easterly sides it presented 
rugged bluJffs, difficult of ascent, and consequently afford- 
ing good defences for the town, which were early made 
available ; while on its other sides its gradual slopes made 
it easily accessible from the other parts of the town. 
The hill was anciently approached by two ways, the first 
of which led from Governor "Winthrop's house on " the 
High Street " (where now the South Block is on "Wash- 
ington street), opposite the School street, by "the Fort 
Street" (now Milk street) and Oliver's street; the second, 
also, from the same High street, but farther south, by 
passing through either the way leading by " the town's 
watering place," now Bedford street, or through "the 
Mill Lane" (now Summer street), and then through 
" Cow Lane " (now High street) , to its foot. 

The land immediately around- this hill was designated, 
in the early days of the town, the Fort Field, and was 
used so extensively at first for the cultivation of corn 
that the eminence had previously obtained the name of 
Corn Hill, an appellation which it soon lost in conse- 
quence of the fortification which was so early erected 
there by the forefathers of the town. An attempt was 
made early in the last century to call this hill Bowling 
Green, and still later, after the honored name of Wash- 


ingtonj but the former failed entirely, and the latter suc- 
ceeded no farther than naming the empty square space 
which surrounded the top of the hill and which was 
afterwards, and until quite recently, encircled with an 
iron fence. 

After the Governor and the Company of the Massa- 
chusetts Bay, while in England, had resolved to remove 
with their charter to ISTew England, among their earliest 
considerations they took counsel about matters of defence 
in the new country, by whom they should be erected, 
and how they should be maintained j and came to the 
conclusion, that the Company should be at one-half the 
expense and the planters at the other half, and that all 
men should be employed in the building thereof in equal 
proportion until the works should be completed. The 
first place selected for raising fortifications was Boston, 
and the place may be inferred from the following extracts 
taken from Governor Winthrop's often quoted journal: 
24 May, 1632, " The fortification vpon the Corne Hill 
at Boston was begun:" 25. " Charlestowne men came & 
wrought vpon the fortificane; Roxbury the next, and 
Dorchester the next." Again, on the third of August, 
163.3, the Governor being asked by the Deputy-Governor 
by what authority he had removed certain ordnance and 
erected a fort at Boston, replied, " that the ordnance 
lying vpon the beach in danger of spoiling, & having 
often complayned of it in the Court, & nothing done 
with the helpe of divers of the Assistants, they were 
mounted vpon their carriages, removed where they 
might be of some vse: & for the forte, it had been agreed, 
above a year before, that it should be erected there : 
«fe all this was done without any peny chai'ge to the 
publ." These extracts clearly show that Governor Win- 


throp originated the project of erecting the fortifications 
upon the hill, and actually accomplished the undertaking, 
in which he was opposed by Mr. Dudley the Deputy- 
Governor. The first mention made of these fortifications 
in the Colonial Records of Massachusetts is under the 
date of the twenty-ninth of May, 1633, when it was or- 
dered by the General Court " that the fibrt att Boston 
shalbe finished with what convenient speede may be, att 
the publique charg." In September of the same year all 
hands, except magistrates and ministers, were ordered 
to afibrd their help to the finishing of this fort until it 
should be completed; and on the first day of the sub- 
sequent October, Sergeant Perkins is ordered to carty 
forty turfs to the fort, as a punishment for drunkenness.. 
On the third of September, 1634, the same records show 
that " Mr. John Samford is chosen canoneere for the fibrt 
att Boston; & itt is ordered, that for two yeares ser- 
vice that hee hath alrea;dy done att the said fibrt, & for 
one yeare more hee shall doe, to be accompted from this 
day, hee shall have allowed him out of the treasury the 
sum of XX?." By these extracts it is evident that the 
construction of the fort was commenced in May 1632, 
more than two years before the earliest town record 
now extant. 

After this date, the town records abound in orders 
passed with reference to the building of the fortifications 
upon Fort Hill, and petitions are frequently mentioned 
as having been presented by persons who wished to 
be relieved from working upon the same. 

The following extract from the town records shows 
what passed at a general town meeting, and contains 
much information; it bears date the twenty-third of 
January, 1635-6: 


" Item, it was likewise agreed, y* for y" rayseiag of 
a newe worke or fortification vpon y" ffbrthill, about 
y* w* is there alreaddy begune, the whole towne would 
bestowe fourteene dayes worke by equall pr'portion, & 
for this s" M' Deputie, M' Henry Yane, M"" John 
Winthrop, Sen., M'' Will" Coddington, M' John "Win- 
throp, ju., Captaine John Underhill, & M" Will" Bren- 
.ton, were authorized as commissioners, y' they, or y* 
greater part of them, should sett downe how many dayes 
worke be equall for each man to doe, & what money 
such should contribute beside their worke, as mene of 
greater abilities, & had fewer servants, that therewith 
pr'vision of tooles & other necessaryes might be 
made, and some recompence given to such of y" poorer 
sort as should be found to bee overburdened w''' their 
fourteene dayes worke; & M"' John Cogan is chosen 
treasurer, & M"" Will" Dyer, clerks, for y'' furtherance 
of this worke; the worke also is to be put in hand w"', 
soe soone as weather will p'mitt, in regard y' y" ingineer, 
M' Lyon Garner [Gardner], who doth soe freely ofier 
his help therevnto, hath but a short time to stay." 

From this time the work on the fortifications seems to 
have progressed reasonably well, although they were not 
immediately completed. On the thirty-first of October, 
1642,' " there is liberty granted vnto Widdow Tu thill to 
remove her windmill into the Fort there to place it at the 
appointm' of Capt. Gibones." In December 1642, " It is 
ordered that the highway begun from Widdow Tuthills 
windmill to the Fort, 20 feet in width, shall be laid out 
by W" Colbron and Jacob Ehot," and in March 1643, 
the same persons were appointed to lay out a cartway 
near the Widow Tuthill's Windmill, and on the fifteenth 
of September, 1645, the same Mr. Colbron with James 


Penn are directed to lay out the way through the gar- 
dens to the south windmill, passing between the house 
of ^Nicholas Parker (at the southwest corner of the 
present Winter street), and the garden of Robert 
Kenolds, which was situated east of the present site of 
Trinity Church. This way (now Summer street) is the 
old Mill Lane that led to the Widow Tuthill's Windmill 
on Fort HiU. The other lane (Bedford street), leading 
to the Fort passing by the town's watering place, was laid 
out by vote passed the thirty-first of January, 1644-5, 
and was to pass between Thomas Wheeler's garden, at 
the northwest corner of Bedford street, and Robert 
Woodward's garden at the southwest comer. 

From the following record it appears that the land 
taken on Corn Hill for the fort must have belonged to 
James Penn, a person of much note in the early days of 
the town, having been the beadle, then the marshal, and 
finally the ruling elder of the First Church: — December 
30, 1644. " There are two acres of ground added to 
James Penn his former grant of 26* 6""" 44, for more 
full satisfaction for his land taken on y" fort hill, taken 
to the use of the fortification " ; and afterwards three 
act-es " neare Rockbury gate " are granted to him for the 
same purpose. 

Fort Hill has been quite noted in the early history 
of the townj and among the most noted events was the 
seizure of Sir Edmond Andros, who sought shelter 
within the fort, on the tenth of April, 1689, a daring 
act on the part of Bostonians, which might have made 
many of them lose their heads had it not been for the 
lucky occurrence of the great English revolution that 
elevated the Prince of Orange to the throne. The fol- 
lowing vote, passed the ninth of March, 1712-13, shows 


that Boston was not altogether wanting in good acts and 
charities : 

" Yoted, That the Selectmen be desired to view the 
House and ground on Fort Hill or elsewhere at the 
Request of y^ Gentlemen that are about to erect a Charity 
School, or Hospital for such children, and that they lay 
out what ground may be thought convenient for the s^ 
Intention, and make Report at the next Greneral Town 
Meeting for the Townes confirmation of the same, to be 
contimied and appropriated for that use so long as such 
school shall be upheld there." 

Many engravings have been made representing the 
hill and the fort on its summit. On Bonner's plan of the 
town, published in 1722, it appears like a quadrangular 
stockade ; but in a later map, published in 1775, it has 
the appearance of a regular fort; and agaia the plates 
connected with Des Barres's charts give it simply the 
resemblance of a common board fence. A view of the 
town taken in 1743, and published by William Price, and 
republished a century afterwards, exhibits a good view 
of Fort Hill from an easterly point of view; as also does 
another ancient engraving made in 1774, and published 
with the Royal American Magazine. In the Columbian 
Magazine for December 1787, and the Massachusetts 
Magazine for June 1791, are other views of this locality. 
There is no evidence on record, nor is there any creditable 
tradition that the town ever parted with its right to Fort 
Hill. From the earliest days of the town to the close 
of the war of the Revolution, the hill was chiefly used 
for military purposes ; since then, the fortifications have 
been suffered to decay, until not a vestige of them 
remained to be seen at the time Boston became a city, 
in 1822. 


Great changes have taken place in the appearance of 
Fort Hill. As late as the year 1784 no street was nearer 
its summit than Batterymarch, Purchase, and Ohver 
streets, at which time it had visible remains of the old 
fortifications enclosed with a wooden fence. A very 
creditable engraving, published in 1781, with the charts 
of Des Barres, a noted hydrographer, exhibits the ap- 
pearance of the hill at the time of the American Revolu- 
tionary war. Since this time, the hUl has been nearly 
covered with private houses and one or more public 
buildings; and a circular plat of ground, surrounded by 
a wide street forming a square, has alone been retained 
as a breathing place for its numerous inhabitants. Be- 
fore the buildings were erected upon the lull, an excellent 
view of the harbor and of the towns lying southerly, 
Dorchester and Roxbury, and the Blue Hills of Milton, 
could be obtained from its top. 'Now, alas ! there is very 
little remaining about it that can interest the visitor. A 
project of removing the soil and reducing the hill to a 
much lower grade was sanctioned by the city council by 
a resolve and order approved on the sixth of September, 
1865 J and which will be fully carried out, as an order 
appropriating the large sum of twelve hundred and fifty 
thousand dollars for the purpose was approved by the 
mayor on the twenty-third of July, 1869. This improve- 
ment will give much valuable room to the business part 
of the city, and mate a large increase in its taxable prop- 
erty, and at the same time remove many of the noted 
places of filth and siclaiess which are now found in its 
immediate neighborhood. 



Beacon Hill, anciently called Treamount • • • Its many Eminences and their 
Names • • • Beacon Hill proper • • • Copley's Hill, Monnt Vernon • • • Cotton's 
Hill, Pemberton's Hill • • • West Hill • • ■ Height of Highest Summit • • ■ 
Early Mansion Houses • • • Hancock House, and its Stable, etc • ■ • The Han- 
cock Cow Pasture, now the site of the State House • ■ ■ Changes in the 
Vicinity of Beacon Hill • • • The Beacon Pole and its History • • • British 
Port • • ■ Centry Street ■ • ■ Thurston's House • • • Approach to the Hill • • • 
Beacon Hill Monument, and its Inscriptions • • ■ The Tablets and Gilded 
Eagle ■ ■ • Exact Site of the Old Monument • • ■ Sale of the Land and Remo- 
val of the Monument • • • Temple Street laid out • • • House of Daniel D. 
Rogers • ■ • Present Condition of Treamount. 

Beacon Hill, early known as Treamount, or Tramont, 
and sometimes called Tremont, was the third of the 
three great hUls of Boston, and presented to the sight 
the most prominent object of the town when it was 
viewed at any considerable distance. It was not only 
conspicuous on account of its loftiness, but was also a 
distinguishing feature of the peninsula, in consequence 
of the peculiar shape of its summit, which exhibited 
three emiaences that were particularly noticeable from 
the neighboring town of Charlestown, and which gave 
to it its first name " Treamount," to the town the first 
English designation " Ti imountaine," and to a principal 
street, one of the oldest and most noted, the name 
" Tremont," by which alone is preserved the remembrance 
of a peculiarity now lost to the sight forever. One of 


these eminences was situated behind where the State 
House now stands, and was anciently known as Gentry 
Hill, and was the site of the ancient beacon pole; at 
the west of this was a lesser elevation, sometime called 
Copley's Hill, and later, Mount Yernon; and at the east 
was a summit known as Cotton's Hill, and Pemberton's 
Hill, that consisted of threfe more humble risings upon a 
lofty eminence, which in recent times were occupied as 
the gardens of the late Lieutenant-Governor William 
Phillips, Gardiner Greene, Esq., and Dr. James Lloyd. 
Another portion of the ancient Treamount stretched 
nearly to the present line of West Cedar street, where it 
terminated in a high bluff called West Hill — a portion 
of the ridge enjoying names which it would be much 
better to forget than to continue in remembrance with 
the unpleasant associations of the past with which they 
are inseparably connected. 

The loftiest of these eminences was about one hun- 
dred and thirty-eight feet above the level of the sea, and 
afforded the best >dew of the neighboring towns and 
harbor that could be obtained within the limits of the 
peninsula. This cluster of elevated points extended 
from the head, or westerly end of Hanover street on 
the east to the water on the west, and from Cambridge 
street on the north to the Common on the south. On 
the easterly slope, the site of the present Tremont row, 
were, in the olden time, many of the principal mansion 
houses of the town; but upon the more westerly part 
there were scarcely any buildings until Mr. Thomas 
Hancock, a princely merchant, erected on the southerly 
slope his sightly stone house, in 1737, afterwards the 
aristocratic mansion of his nephew. Governor Hancock, 
which was taken down in 1863, to give room for the two 


magnificent houses of Messrs. Beebe and Brewer. On 
the west of the Hancock house were the carriage house 
and stable, about the last use of which was for the ex- 
hibition of caravans of wild animals; and on the east 
was the cow pasture, which was bought by the town and 
given conditionally to the State for the erection of the 
present State House, the corner stone of which was laid 
by the Grand Lodge , of Freemasons of Massachusetts 
on the fourth of July, 1795, in the presence of Governor 
Samuel Adams, who made a most appropriate speech on 
the occasion, which probably took him less than five 
minutes to deliver. 

The changes in the vicinity of Beacon Hill have been 
numerous in modern years ; and the various eminences 
have been removed and many streets laid out upon their 
surface, much of the soil having been used to raise the 
low land in the neighborhood of Charles street, and a 
portion to fill up the old millpond north of the present 
Haymarket square. The last of the beacon poles, from 
which alarms had been given in former days, was blown 
down in !N"ovember 1789, and a monument erected in its 
place in 1790; and this last was taken down in the year 
1811 to make way for dwelling-houses ; and on a portion 
of the site of the principal eminence is the stone reser- 
voir, which sides upon Temple, Derne and Hancock 

The origin of the beacon pole dates back to the fol- 
lowing order, passed on the fourth of March, 1634-5, by 
the General Court of the Colony : 

" It is ordered, that there shalbe forth with a beacon 
sett on the centry hill at Boston, to give notice to the 
country of any danger, & that there shalbe a ward of 
one pson kept there from the first of April to the last 


of Sepf., & that upon the discov'y of any danger, the 
beacon shalbe fired, an allarum given, as also messengers 
presently sent by that towne where the danger is dis- 
eov'ed, to all other townes within their jurisdicwn." 

This beacon pole was a tall and conspicuous staff, 
having foot sticks on its sides to give aid in ascending 
to the crane which surmounted its top, and to which was 
suspended an iron skillet that, in colonial times, was 
generally kept full of combustibles, ready prepared for . 
ignition in case of the necessity of an alarm. 

In some shape the beacon pole, erected in accordance 
with the vote of the General Court, was kept standing, 
being occasionally replaced by a new one, until the year 
1775, when it was taken down by the British troops, and 
a small square fort erected in its stead. After the retire- 
ment of these troops in 1776, the beacon pole, which 
remained until it was blown down just previous to the 
erection of the monument, was placed in the old position 
by the town. The one which was taken down by the 
British had been erected by the Selectmen of the town 
in 1768, very much to the displeasure of the governor 
of the province ; and, in consequence of apprehension of 
oppression by the troops, unknown persons, on the tenth 
of September of that year, placed an empty turpentine, 
barrel in the skillet, undoubtedly with a view of raising 
the country to oppose the troops if necessary. This 
gave great alarm to the royalists, especially to Governor 
Bernard, and the Selectmen were desired to remove the 
same; but declining to do so, the obnoxious barrel was 
taken down by Mr. Greenleaf, the high sheriff, on the six- 
teenth, by direction of the Governor, and the pole subse- 
.quently taken away, and the fort erected. The removal 
of the barrel created quite a prolonged discussion 


through the papers, certain parties being very desirous 
to propagate the idea that the barrel was not one which 
had been used for turpentine, and consequently was not 
of an inflammable nature. 

The street which led to the Gentry Hill was laid out by 
an order of the Selectmen passed the thirtieth of March, 
1640, the portion of Temple street extending over the 
site of the lull from Mount Yernon street to Derne street 
not being constructed until years after the summer of 
1811, when the monument was taken down, and the hill 
dug away. 'Not a few of the older iuhabitants who were 
hving at the commencement of the present century re- 
member well the lofty mansion house of WUliam Thurs- 
ton, Esq., as it presented itself to the sight of all in the 
days of its magnificence, from its towering eminence 
just east of the monument; and many will undoubtedly, 
never forget the same building shorn of its pristine glory, 
standing upon the high precipice formed by the removal 
of the greater part of the soil of the same hill, overtop- 
ping the chimneys of the neighboring houses. The sum- 
mit of the hill, about six rods square, was approached 
from the north and from the south by means of steps, 
rather steep in their ascent. Five lithograpliic views 
•printed some years ago by Mr. George G. Smith, of this 
city, recall to memory very vividly the appearance of the 
hill about the time of the removal of the monument. 

The last contemporary notice of the beacon pole is 
to be found in the Independent Chronicle, under date of 
Thursday, December 3, 1789, in the following words : — 
" The Beacon, which was erected on Bacon-Hill, during 
the last war, to alarm the country in case of an invasion 
of the British into this town — was on Thursday night 
last blown down." This, of course, was on the twenty- 


sixth of [November. Immediately after this occurrence, 
a project was set on foot for erecting a monimient upon 
the site of this noted and heretofore useful pole; and a 
plan was procured of Charles Bulfinch, Esq., a worthy- 
townsman, who had made architecture a special study. 
The erection of the monument was commenced in 
the year 1790, but was not completed until the spring 
of the next year. Its base was about one hundred and 
thirty-eight feet above the level of the sea, being about 
twenty feet higher than the floor of the present State 
House. It was a plain Doric column, of the Roman style, 
with a well proportioned base and pedestal, and built in 
the most substantial manner of brick and stone incrusted 
with white cement; and surmounted by a large gilt 
eagle with the American segis upon its breast, standing 
upon a globe. The whole height of the monument, 
including pedestal and eagle, was sixty feet; the diame- 
ter of the column being four feet, and the width of the 
pedestal eight. The four sides of the pedestal contained 
panels, in which were engraved the following inscrip- 
tions designed to commemorate the leading events of 
the American Revolution. 

On the South side : 














On the West side : 

stamp act passed 1765. repealed 1766. 

Board of customs established 1767. 

British troops fired on the inhabitants of Boston 

March 6. 1770. 

Tea act passed 1773. 

Tea destroyed in Boston Decern: 16. 

Port of Boston shut and guarded June 1. 1774. 

General Congress at Philadelphia Sept : 4. 

Provincial Congress at Concord Oct: 11. 

Battle of Lexington April 19. 1775. 

Battle of Bunker Hill June 17. 

Washington took command of the army July 2. 

Boston evacuated March 17. 1776. 

Independence declared by Congress July 4. 1776. 

Hancock President. 

On the IN'orth side: 

Capture of Hessians at Trenton Dec: 26. 1776. 

Capture of Hessians at Bennington. Aug: 16. 1777. 

Capture of British army at Saratoga Oct: 17. 

Alliance with Prance Feb: 6. 1778. 

Confederation of United States formed July 9. 

Constitution of Massachusetts formed 1780. 

Bowdoin President of Convention. 

Capture of British army at York Oct: 19. 1781. 

Prelimenaries of Peace Nov: 30. 1782. 

Definitive Treaty of Peace Sept: 10. 1783. 

Federal Constitution formed Sept: 17. 1787, 

and ratified by the United States 1787. to. 1790. 

New Congress assembled at New York April. 6. 1789. 

Washington inaugurated President April 30. 

Public debts funded Aug: 4. 1790. 

On the East side : 












Hon. Thomas Dawes, the well remembered judge of 
the late Municipal Court, who was born in Boston in 
the year 1757, graduated at Harvard College in 1777, 
and died 22 July, 1825, had the reputation of being the 
author of these very judicious inscriptions. If he did 
not write them, it is desirable to know who did. "When 
the monument was taken down in 1811, to make way 
for improvements, the tablets were placed in a back 
passageway of the State House, at the foot of the old 
flight of stairs which led to the rooms in the entresol 
beneath the Senate Chamber, and the gilded eagle was 
placed over the entrance door of the Doric Hall, imme- 
diately beneath the Representatives' Hall; and subse- 
quently, about fifteen years ago, removed to the last 
mentioned hall and suspended over the Speaker's Chair. 
On the twenty-first of February, 1861, in accordance 
with an order of the Legislature, these tablets were 
securely attached to the easterly wall of the Doric Hall 
of the State House, there to be retained and preserved, 
not only to commemorate the important events thereon 
recorded, but to serve as a memorial of the patriotic 
feelings of our predecessors, and as a testimony of our 
appreciation of their good works. In arranging in 1867 
the colors borne by the Massachusetts regiments it 
became necessary to remove this venerable tablet to the 
easterly corridor at the right of the Doric Hall. An act 
has been passed empowering the Bunker Hill Monument 
Association to re-construct the Beacon Hill Monument. 
If the tablets should ever be removed, a place would be 
afforded for another set of marbles, on which can be 
chronicled the patriotic acts and heroic sacrifices of the 
noble sons of Massachusetts, who so recently have given 
themselves to their country in its greatest need and peril. 



The site of Beacon Hill Monument is one that can 
now be pointed out with exactness, and with such a 
degree of precision that any one can identify the spot 
without hesitation. It has already been stated that a 
portion of the summit of Gentry Hill was reserved for 
the Beacon Pole very early after the settlement of the 
town. The monument area seems to have been a por- 
tion of the summit of the hill six rods, or niBcty-nine 
feet, square. Old deeds of neighboring estates men- 
tion this lot and it seems to have been surrounded, at 
one time, by the land of Robert Turner, two himdred 
years ago, leaving only a passage .to it from the Com- 
mon about thirty feet wide. The neighboring estates 
passed by inheritance and sale, untU they became vested 
in Thomas Hancock, the uncle of Governor John Han- 
cock, in 1752, and in others, among whom was John 
Alford, of Charlestown. The Alford property was sold 
'u 1760 to Wilham Molineaux, and subsequently by con- 
fiscation became vested in Daniel Dennison Eogers. 
The Rogers' estate extended from the present Beacon 
street to the top of Beacon Hill, and was bounded on 
the east side by the present Bowdoin street, and on the 
west by the passageway to the monument, and by the 
monument lot. The most northerly part of this land, 
being about eighty feet of the depth of the garden of 
Mr. Rogers, was sold by him, on the ninth of ^N^ovember, 
1802, to William Thurston, Esq., and was the site of the 
house built there in 1804, and which will be remembered 
on account of its high flight of steps, and as standing 
in the air after the digging down of Monument Hill, 
as before alluded to. The exact site of this noted house 
was the northwest part of the estate, which covered the 
ground now occupied by the three houses in Beacon 


Hill Place, and the one just north of them extending 
on Bowdoin street to the passageway. The back of 
this estate, on the westerly side, bounded on the monu- 
ment lot. 

In the spring of 1811 the old town began to feel 
poor, as grievous debts pressed heavily upon the inhabi- 
tants ; and an effort was made to obtain relief by selling 
the public land, in order to raise money to lessen the 
town's debt. A committee of twelve respectable men, 
one from each ward, was appointed to take the subject 
into consideration; and on the twenty-seventh of May a 
report was submitted to the townsmen, recommending 
the sale of land belonging to the town on Beacon Hill, 
of the lot opposite to the mall, and other land. The 
recommendation was adopted, and- on motion of John 
Lowell, Esq., then an active inhabitant of the town, an 
order was passed for that purpose. The land was sold 
at public auction on the twentieth day of the succeeding 
June, that opposite the Tremont street mall being soon 
built upon as a portion of Colonnade row; and of the 
monument lot two-thirds fell to John Hancock, and one- 
third to Samuel Spear. It was then that the monument 
was taken down and its eagle and tablets saved, for the 
purchasers began removing the soil from the hill in July, 
although they did not receive their title-deed to the land 
until the sixth of August following. Although this 
great digging commenced in 1811, it was not until the 
twenty-ninth of July, 1824, during the mayoralty of 
the elder Quincy, that Temple street was laid out 
through it and accepted by the city. This occurrence 
being of so late a date has led many to think that the 
monument could not have been removed as early as 1811, 
while others insist upon it, that it was taken down 


several years sooner. But it is well kuown that it was 
standing in its lot in the sprmg of 1811, and that it was 
not there in jSTovember of the same year. The fonr 
boundary lines of this lot, six rods square, are: The 
south line, sixty feet from Mt. Vernon street; the north 
Une, consequently one hundred and j&fty-nine feet from 
the same street; the east line, that already mentioned as 
the boundary of Mr. Thurston's estate; and the west 
line, about twelve feet west of the westerly line of Tem- 
ple street. The site of the monument, being in the 
centre of this lot, was just east of the easterly side of 
Temple street, in the front part of^ the lot of the second 
house in this street numbering from Mt. Yemon street, 
now numbered 80. 

The house well remembered by so many, as standing 
in a somewhat similar condition as did Mr. Thurston's, 
was the house of the late Daniel Dennison Rogers, and 
was situated on the estate just south of the present 
Beacon Hill Place. It was a large double house, and 
was built on the Em'opean plan, with a stable and wood- 
house in front, and the main entrance approached from 
between these, over a long flight of stone steps which 
led to it and its spacious front garden. Mrs. Elizabeth, 
widow of Mr. Rogers, died on the fifth of May, 1833, 
aged sixty-nine years ; and the estate was sold at auction 
in the subsequent June, and the house was taken down 
soon after, and the present block built and occupied in 

Within the memories of the older inhabitants of 
Boston, great changes have taken place in the territory 
once occupied by Treamount. The hills have been 
removed to fill up valleys and waste places; streets, 
vying with each other in their comfortable and sightly 


mansion houses, have been laid out; and the dreary part 
of the old town, which had very little of early historical 
interest, except in the garden, oi'chard and spring of 
Blaxton, and in the Beacon Pole, upon which the warn- 
ing light had so often blazed, has become now the most 
populous, as well as the most comfortable part of the 



Cemeteries in Boston • • • The Old Burying-Ground, or Chapel Burying-Ground, 
in Tremont street • • • Death of Mr. Isaac Johnson, in Charlesto wn ■ • • Burial 
of Captain Eobert Welden, the first known interment on the Peninsula ■ • ■ 
Lady Arbella Johnson buried in Salem ■ ■ • Form and Boundaries of the 
Chapel Burying-Ground ■ • • Number of its Tombs and when built • • • 
Wooden, Brick, Stone and Iron Fences • • ■ The Ground let to Captain 
Savage • • ■ Burials discontinued for a time • • • Description of the Cemetery 
• • • Strange Freak of an-old Superintendent of Burials in placing the Grave- 
stones in Rows • • • Kinds of Memorials and their Material • • • Monument of 
Col. Dawes • • • The Winslow Tomb • • • Leverett Tomb • • • Governor Win- 
throp's Tomb • • • Elder Thomas Oliver's Tomb • • • The Early Pastors of the 
First Church • • • Graves of Mrs. Mather and Mrs. Davenport • • • Inscrip- 
tion on Tomb of Jacob Sheafe • • • Brattle and Bromfleld Tombs • • • Remains 
of Lady Andros • ■ • Gravestones of Deacon William Paddy and Captain 
Roger Clap • • ■ Tomb of Major Thomas Savage • • ■ King's Chapel • • • Old 
Passageways discontinued. 

Peevious to the establishment, on the twenty-fourth of 
September, 1831, of the Mount Auburn Cemetery on 
the borders of Cambridge and Watertown, there had 
been eleven burial-places on the peninsula, — the Chapel 
Burying-Gi'ound, the oldest in Boston; the several con- 
nected grounds on Copp's Hill; the Granary Burying- 
Ground on Tremont street; the Burying-Ground in the 
rear of Congress street, belonging to the Society of 
Friends; the Boylston street Burying-Ground; and the 
"Washington street or South End Burying-Ground; and 
the cemeteries under the following named religious edi- 


fices, King's Chapel, Christ Church, Trinity Church, St. 
Paul's Church and Part street Meeting-House. There 
have been, also, in South Boston, five cemeteries: the 
Hawes Burying Ground, the Lower Burying-Grround, 
now discontinued, and its former deposits removed; a 
private ground adjacent to the Hawes Ground, called 
the Union Burying- Ground; St. Augustine-Bury ing- 
Ground, for Roman Catholics, and the cemetery under 
St. Matthew's Church. In East Boston there have been 
two only, one for Protestants and the other for Israel- 
ites. Since the ordinance against interments in graves 
in Boston, no burials have been made on the peninsula 
except in tombs, and none in South Boston, except in the 
St. Augustine Burying-Ground on Dorchester street. 
Burials in graves are as yet allowed in East Boston. 
The cemetery under the Park street Meeting-House was 
discontinued in 1862, and the remains which had been 
deposited in its tombs were removed to a burial lot on 
Central Square in Mount Auburn Cemetery. The use 
of the tombs under St. Matthew's Church in South Bos- 
ton has also been terminated. The number of inter- 
ments in the city proper has become quite small, as a 
very large part of the burials now take place in the 
suburban cemeteries. 

Soon after the settlement of Boston, our fathers be- 
thought themselves about establishing a place of burial, 
and selected for that purpose the lot situated at the cor- 
ner of Tremont and School streets, where the first burials 
in the town were made. The exact time when this cem- 
etery was first set apart and devoted to its present use 
can never be accurately determined, although uncertain 
tradition connects its origin with the death of Mr. Isaac 
Johnson, which occurred several weeks before the actual 


settlement of the town, notwithstanding an earlier reso- 
lution of the colonists had been taken to make the 
peninsula their chief town in the Massachusetts settle- 
ment. Mr. Johnson died in Charlestown on the thirtieth 
of September, 1630, and the place of his interment is 
nowhere mentioned by his cotemporaries. Mr. Samuel 
Sewall, the noted Chief Justice, who did not commence 
his diary until nearly fifty years after this event, writes, 
that Mr. Johnson was buried in Boston in his lot, and 
that others at their request were on their death buried near 
him, and hence the spot became the site of the old burial- 
ground. This tradition, which has been perpetuated by 
Governor Hutchinson in a note to his valuable history, 
may have arisen from the fact that, before Mr. Johnson 
came to America, he made a wUl, requesting to be buried 
in the church-yard in Boston in old England j and it is 
reasonable to suppose that in this expression the story had 
its origin. But, be this as it may, and it is pleasant to 
believe such a relation, it is certain that the first known 
burial in Boston took place some months later. The 
occurrence is thus mentioned by Governor Winthrop, 
under date of the eighteenth of February, 1630: ' — 
" Capt. Welden, a hopeful younge gent, & an experi- 
enced soldier, dyed at Charlestowne of a consumption, 
and was buryed at Boston w*'' a military funeral." The 
death of this young man occurred two days previous, 
on the sixteenth, and, we are told by Governor Dudley, 
in his instructive letter to the Countess of Lincoln, that 
he " was buryed as a souldier with three volleys of 
shott." Here, then, are two important writers, who 
record the death and burial of Captain Robert Welden; 
and no one records the burial of Mr. Johnson, who was 
the most important man of the colony, with the excep- 


tion, perhaps, of John Winthrop, the Governor. As 
there is no evidence of any kind that Mr. Johnson had 
land in Boston, either by grant or purchase, and as his 
heirs made no conveyance of land on the peninsula, he 
could not have been buried in his own lot, though he 
may have been brought over to the place selected by his 
associates for future settlement, before the removal of 
the colonists from Charlestown. One other fact, may 
have given some slight degree of credibility to the 
tradition of Mr. Johnson's interment in the old burying- 
place near the present King's Chapel, namely, that not 
long ago, when the old brick wall of the cemetery was 
standing, a gravestone, which was said to be that of 
Mr. Johnson, was to be seen at the southeast corner of 
the yard, partly imbedded in the wall. This was noth- 
ing but a thin slate stone, such as was used much later 
in the order of time — the older ones being of a por- 
phyritic greenstone — and, besides being in the most 
modem part of the yard, would not have been the kind 
that would have been selected to mark the last earthly 
resting-place of the most valued man among the first 
settlers — "the idol of the people." Although it is un- 
pleasant to throw doubt upon a tradition so harmless as 
the one alluded to, it would not be unreasonable to infer 
that Mr. Johnson, if not buried in Charlestown, was 
carried to Salem; for it would be much more in accord- 
ance with his kind and affectionate nature for him to 
have required his body to be deposited near his beloved 
wife, the Lady Arbella, — whose death had occurred 
only a month previous, while the colonists were at 
Salem, where she is said by good authority to have 
been buried, — than to be carried to a place as yet un- 



In form, the King's Chapel Burial-Ground, as the old 
burying-ground is now called, is almost square, and is 
situated very nearly in the centre of the peninsula. It 
is bounded on the west by Tremont street, which it 
fronts; by the buildings of the Massachusetts Historical 
Society on the north; and by the lot on which the City 
Hall stands, on the east; and it is separated from School 
street on the south by King's Chapel. Its principal 
entrance is from Tremont street, through an iron gate- 
way ; although in School street, at the southeasterly cor- 
ner, near the City Hall lot, there is a gate which is 
chiefly used as an approach to the twenty-one vaidts 
beneath the chapel. Exclusive of these there are, ia- 
cluding the charnel house, about seventy-nine tombs 
within the yard, making about one hundred connected 
with the cemetery. Twenty-two of these border upon 
Tremont street, twenty-four on the easterly edge of the 
yard near the City Hall lot, and thirty-two with the 
charnel hoiise in the middle of the ground. The tombs 
on the Tremont street side were built in the year 1738, 
at the same time the old brick wall was erected, which 
so many persons can remember; those on the easterly 
side being of a little earlier date (before 1715) ; while 
those in the area are the most ancient. The earliest 
fence of which we have any knowledge, which preceded 
the brick wall nearly a century, may have been the first 
that was erected to protect the spot. It had its origin in 
consequence of the following order, passed 1642 : " It 
is ordered, that the constables shall, with all convenient 
speed, take care for fencing in the burying place." The 
old brick wall of 1738 remained standing until the year 
1830, when it was removed, and a fine hammered granite 
stone wall erected in its place by Mr. Daniel Copeland, 


/ Jr., in accordance with plans furnished by Isaiah Rogers, 

a well-known architect of that time. In 1854, the 

Quincy granite wall was removed, and the present neat 

, iron fence put up in its stead by Smith, Lovett & Co., in 

I both cases the expense being chiefly defrayed by money 

I obtained by subscription. 

The old fathers of the town were so prudent in their 
affairs that they undoubtedly received an income from 
the land other than that derived from the uses to which 
it was intended to be put; for, on the thirtieth of 'No- 
vember, 1657, the ground was let to Capt. Savage for a 
period of twenty years, he promising to preserve the 
fence. This lease ■ was terminated on the twentieth of 
August, 1660, by a vote, that the old burying-place 
should not be broken up without leave, and by another 
vote, passed on the fifth of I^ovember following, that it 
should be deserted for a convenient season, and the new 
places appointed for burying made use of. 

This old yard teems with many interesting associa- 
tions of the past. During the first thirty years of the 
town, it was the sole repository of the dead in Boston; 
for it was not until about the year 1660 that two new 
cemeteries, the North Burial-Ground on Copp's Hill, and 
the South, more generally known as the Granary Burial- 
Ground, on the westerly side of Tremont street, were 
laid out for use. To a stranger who visits this old hab- 
itation of the dead, beside the most frequented street in 
the city, the feelings of reverence are at once awakened ; 
and the strange looking old stones with their quaint 
inscriptions idealize the past, as, winding along among 
these hallowed relics, one reads the brief history of a 
spent life in the simple name and age of the lone tenant 
beneath each of them, cut with the sculptor's chisel in 


the cold, gray slate. To the old Bostonian, associations 
of a dearer character rush through the mind, as the his- 
tory of times long past involuntarily comes up, while 
perusing the names of the well-known active townsmen 
of the days that have passed away forever. A walk 
through this silent habitation may not be wholly unin- 
teresting. On passing the principal gateway of this 
sacred enclosure in Tremont street, the visitor is forcibly 
struck with the peculiar arrangement of the gravestones 
which first meet his eye. He notices rows of these 
memorials of the deceased hning all the avenues and 
bypaths of the ground, arranged as fences, — the curious 
freak of a noted superintendent of burials, who unwit- 
tingly removed these testimonials of love and respect 
from the spot where they had been placed in pious 
memory of deceased relatives and friends, — so that they 
now serve only as a record of the past, without giving 
the hallowed associations for which they were origin- 
ally raised. 

The memorials which present themselves to view are 
of various Muds. The most ancient are constructed of 
a very durable species of stone — porphyritic green 
stone, smoothed on one or two faces, and bear iascrip- 
tions in plain Roman capitals; although in the old- 
est, some of the letters are blended together as 
logotypes: and they are destitute of all sepulchral 
ornaments and devices whatever. The second in 
order of time were imported from England, and are of 
very substantial slate stone; they are enriched with 
sculptured borders, and decorated with death's heads, 
hour glasses and cherubim. The gravestones next in 
antiquity are of home origin, and are constructed of 
American slate or marble, having frequently rude 


carvings. Not unfrequently will be found a more costly- 
marble, from a foreign quarry, but shaped and lettered 
in this country. The tombs in the middle of the yard 
are designated by horizontal monumental slabs, sup- 
ported either by columns or by solid rectangular con- 
structions of brick or stone; while those on the sides of 
the enclosure generally have square tablets, resting im- 
mediately upon the soil which covers the tombs. Some 
of these slabs and tablets exhibit well-cut armorial de- 
vices. The oldest slabs are of sandstone, and conse- 
quently, from the effect of -the pelting rain storms on 
their soft and perishable faces, their inscriptions have 
become somewhat illegible, if not altogether obliterated. 
The old native greenstone and the English slate stone 
have best performed their allotted tasks. One of the 
most prominent objects in this abode of the dead is a 
white marble monument, exactly in the centre of the 
yard, erected to the memory of a venerable and useful 
citizen, Hon. Thomas Dawes, better known as Col. 
Dawes, who was for many years identified with the me- 
chanical interests of the town, and who, as the inscrip- 
tion relates, died Jan'y 2, 1809, aet, 78. Yery near to 
this, a few steps to the northwest, is the tomb of the 
Boston branch of the pilgrim family of "Winslow, desig- 
nated by a horizontal tablet supported by mason work, 
and exhibiting on one side a shield with lozenges on a 
bend, the well-known heraldic arms of the ancient fam- 
ily, bearing the name; and in the vault beneath were 
deposited the remains of John "Winslow, in 1674, and of 
Mary, his wife; the famous Mary Chilton, who in her 
girlish sport was the first woman to leap on shore at 
Cape Cod from the renowned May Flower, of ever- 
blessed memory, and who died in 1679. A short dis- 


tance further on is the tomb of Governor John Leverett, 
one of the best and most humble of the old colonial dig- 
nitaries, who, after performing well his part, died on the 
sixteenth of March, 1678-9, in the sixty-third year of his 
age; and perhaps there is reposing iu the same vault the 
dust of his excellent father, the venerable elder of the 
First Church, who died on the third of April, 1650. The 
Leverett tablet contains a long inscription in the Latin 
language, which is too far obliterated to be thoroughly 

!N^ot far from this last are situated, side by side, the 
tombs of the Winthrops and the Ohvers. Within the 
first have laid the ashes of three very distinguished 
individuals, — father, son, and grandson, each in his turn 
well known in our historical annals as Governor John 
Winthrop, — John "Winthrop, Sen., Governor of the 
Massachusetts Colony, who died on the twenty-sixth of 
March, 1649, aged sixty-one years ; John "Winthrop, Jr., 
Governor of Connecticut Colony, who died on Ihe fifth 
of April, 1676, aged seventy years; and Pitz-John 
Winthrop, Governor of the United Colonies of Con- 
necticut, who died on the twenty-seventh IS^ovember, 
1707, in his sixty-eighth year. These three individuals, 
although holding the ofiice of Governor over three dif- 
ferent jurisdictions at the respective times of their 
decease, died in Boston, and became tenants of the 
same tomb. 

The tomb of Elder Thomas Oliver, of the First 
Church, subsequently became the property of the church 
that he had faithfully served as the Ruling Elder until 
his decease, which occurred on the first of June, 1658, 
he being about ninety years old. A large tablet stand- 
ing near this tomb contains an inscription relating to 


the decease of four of the early pastors of the church in 
the following words: 








DEC'D DECEMBER THE 2.3d, 1652; 


DEC'D MARCH THE 15th, 1670; 


DEC'D DECEMBER THE 28th, 1674; 



A little aside from this conspicuous memorial of the 
four humble pastors are the very modest and now ob- 
scure gravestones of Sarah, the widow of the beloved 
John Cotton and excellent Richard Mather, and of Eliz- 
abeth, the widow of John Davenport; the former of 
whom died on the twenty-seventh of May, 1676, aged 
seventy-five years, and the latter on the fifteenth of the 
next September, aged seventy-six years. So great was 
the veneration of those who had held office in the man- 
agement of the church towards their pastors, that many 
of them were buried in this immediate neighborhood, as 
is made evident by their gravestones, some of which 
have happily escaped removal from their original loca- 

JiTearly in the northwest corner of the yard is a clus- 
ter of the most ancient tombs in Boston; the second 
oldest in the ground, as far as the inscription reads, is 
very near the middle of the northerly side, near the His- 
torical Society's building. It is that of Jacob Sheafe, 


an opulent merchant of his day, and bears the following 
inscription cut upon a horizontal tablet; 

Here lteth Tntekd the 
Body or Iacob Sheafe of 
Boston who fob svme 


IN" Kent in ovld Ingland 

Hee Deceased the 22th of 

' March 1658 Aged 58 Yeaes. 

The widow of Mr. Sheafe (Margaret, daughter of 
Henry Webb, a wealthy Boston merchant, who gave 
the estate in Washington street to Harvard College in 
1660), not long after the decease of her husband 
married Rev. Thomas Thacher, the first pastor of the 
Old South Church; and at her decease on the twenty- 
third of February, 1693-4, at the age. of sixty-eight 
years, was interred in the same vault, as undoubtedly 
her second husband was, who died on the fifteenth of 
October, 1678, aged fifty-eight years and five months. 

l^ear the Sheafe tomb is a cluster of horizontal 
tablets, raised over sepulchral vaults of ancient date, 
among which is that of Thomas Brattle, probably the 
wealthiest 'New England merchant of his day, who died 
on the fifth of April, 1683, in the sixtieth year of his 
age, leaving, besides his other treasures, his son Thomas 
to be the principal founder of the church which bears 
his name, and to be the great friend as well as Treasurer 
of Harvard College; and also another son, William, the 
learned and pious minister of the First Church in 

A little to the south of these last-mentioned tombs, 
and in the same cluster, are those of the Leverett and 
Bromfield families. In the first mentioned, bearing the 


number 30, were buried the Governor and the members 
of his immediate family, the famous Secretary Isaac 
Addington, and many other persons of note; and in 
the last-named were buried Mr. Edward Bromfield and 
his descendants, among whom were the Phillips's (of 
the family of Lt.-Governor William) , and also some of 
the family of the late Daniel Dennison Rogers. Just 
east of these is the tomb of Dr. Benjamin Church — he 
who acted so queerly in the time of the war of the 
revolution — which became subsequently the property 
of the late Turner Phillips, over which, in the year 
1857, a tall white marble monument was erected. In 
this vault were deposited in February 1688, the remains 
of Lady Anne Andross, wife of the notorious Sir Ed- 
mund, who set up a claim to be Governor of !N^ew 
England, and very much abused the good people of the 
town about three years, until he was seized by Dr. 
Elisha Cooke and others, and subsequently sent home 
to England, to the great joy of the people. 

In the northeast comer of the burial-ground is a 
spacious vault, long used as a charnel house, but which 
in 1833 was repaired and fitted as a place of deposit 
for deceased children. Just at the south side of the 
entrance to this may be seen standing the gravestone 
which affection had more than two centuries ago placed 
over the remains of Deacon WUliam Paddy, one of the 
most useful of the townsmen of his day. He was one of 
the early settlers of the Plymouth Colony, being there as 
early as 1635, where he served the town and colony in 
various capacities until he removed to Boston. This 
relic of early times is of native greenstone, and is the 
oldest upright tablet in the yard. Like many others of 
the old gravestones, it was furtively removed from its 



original position many years ago; and in 1830, while 
workmen were removing earth from the north side of 
the old building at the head of State street, known as 
the Old State House, it was found several feet below the 
surface of the street. Near the stone were found sev- 
eral small bones and pieces of wood, which the incredu- 
lous readily believed to be remnants of the skeleton and 
coffin of the deacon; but the bones did not prove on 
examination to be human relics. The stone very prop- 
erly was restored to the Chapel Burial-Ground, where 
it is very evident that it belonged, as the gravestones 
of his last wife and several of his children are to be 
found in the same yard. Too many of the old stones 
have been removed from their proper places, and used 
for covering drains, paving the floors of tombs, and 
closing their mouths. The inscription on Deacon 
Paddy's gravestone is as follows: 

THE : BODY : OF : Me 

On the back of the slab are the following lines: 


!N'ear the southeasterly part of the yard, although 
not where it should be, is placed the gravestone of 
Capt. Koger Clap, another of the old worthies, who was 


for twenty-OBe years Captain of the Castle in Boston 
Harbor. It bears the following inscription: 

EEBKTJAEY 1690-1. 

Pursuing the walk around the edge of the burial- 
ground, and passing by the large number of gravestones 
placed in rows, like those which first met the eye on en- 
trance, the visitor will notice a few more horizontal slabs, 
more sparsely scattered, on the east and south sides, al- 
most the last of which, near the southwestern corner, is 
over the tomb of Major Thomas Savage, one of the noted 
men of the first years of the town, and a gallant com- 
mander in King Philip's war in the year 1675, and who 
died on the fifteenth of February, 1681-2, aged seventy- 
five years, if the inscription which difi'ers slightly from 
other authorities (as gravestones are very wont to do) 
can be believed. The original building known as King's 
Chapel, which separated this burial-ground from School 
street, was erected of wood in 1688, and gave way for 
the present Stone Chapel in 1749, built of hammered 
granite from the Quincy quarry. In 1833 permission 
was given to the wardens of the chapel to. enlarge their 
vestry and extend it over the burial-ground towards the 
east 5 and the wooden building erected at that time has 
been followed within a few years by one of granite. 
Previous to the erection of the present building belong- 
ing to the Massachusetts Historical Society, in 1832, a 
passageway extended from Tremont street to Court 
square on the northern boundary of the burial-ground; 


and until the taking down of the old City Hall, in 1863, 
there was also a passageway leading from the City Hall 
yard to the same square, bounded partly by the easterly 
side of the ground. The discontinuance of these ave- 
nues has been beneficial to the cemetery. 



Old North Buiying-Ground, on Copp's Hill ■ • • Consists of Several Cemeteries, 
having Distinctive Names • • ■ Its Extent and Boundaries • • ■ Old Ground, and 
its Purchase in 1660 and Bounds • ■ • Oldest Inscription • • • The Sewall Pur- 
chase in 1709 by Gee, and Addition by the Town in 1711 • • • Wishing Kock • • ■ 
Hull Street Cemetery Established in 1832, Discontinued in 1853, and its 
Tenants Removed in 1861 • • • New North Burying-Ground, 1810, and the First 
Burial in it • • • Tombs Built in it by Hon. Charles Wells and Edward Bell in 
1814 • • • Charter Street Burial-Ground, Tombs Built by Mr. Wells in 1819 • ■ • 
Uncertainty of the Origin of Name of the Burying-Ground • • ■ William 
Copp, and his Son David • • • Number of Tombs ■ ■ • Trees first Planted in 
1833 • • • Avenues and Paths • • • Disarrangement of Gravestones ; Mutila- 
tion of Inscriptions • • • Sacrilegious Act of British Soldiers, during the Eev- 
olution ■ ■ • Armorial Devices of Distinguished Families • ■ • Monuments • • • 
Ancient Tombs • ■ • Dates of Building ■ • • Infants' Tomb • • • Tool House • • ■ 
Thomas Hutchinson and Others • ■ -Ingratitude to a Public Benefactor and 
Desecration of his Tomb ■ • • Mather Tomb • • • The Worthylakes • • ■ The Sis- 
ter of Sarah Lucas • ■ • The Graves of the Darlings • • ■ Hannah Langford • • • 
Peter Oilman • ■ • Jerusha Caddall • • • The Silversmith's Wife • • • Captain 
Daniel Malcom and his Remarkable Grave • • • Mary Boutcher. 

In point of age the old IN'orth Burying-Grround, upon 
Copp's Hill, comes next to the King's Chapel Burying- 
Ground in Tremont street, although it is about coeval 
with that now generally known as the Granary 
Burying-Ground, also bounded upon Tremont street, or 
rather upon Paddock's Mall, which intervenes to sepa- 
rate the burial-ground from the highway. 

This ancient cemetery is by no "means an unit, al- 
though it may appear so to the modern visitor. It is a 
congeries of several parcels of land purchased at vari- 


ous times; and, strange to say, has to knowing ones 
distinct names for its different parts. As a whole, it is 
bounded on the southwest about three hundred and 
thirty feet by Hull street; on the northwest by Snowhill 
street about three hundred and twenty-four feet; on the 
northeast about three hundred and fourteen feet by 
Charter street; on the southeast about one hundred and 
twenty feet by private property; on the northeast, again, 
about one hundred and twenty-eight feet, also by private 
property; and lastly on the southeast, again, by private 
land about one hundred and twenty feet. The oldest 
portion, that which has been generally called the ISTorth 
Burying-Ground, is situated at the northeasterly part of 
the present enclosure, and is bounded two hundred and 
ninety-four feet on Charter street, and one hundred and 
fifty-four on Snowhill street; and was purchased of 
John Baker and Daniel Turell by deed dated the twen- 
tieth of February, 1659-60, which instrument was not 
recorded until seventy-six years afterwards, in the fifty- 
third volume of the records of conveyances. The 
southeasterly portion of this part was that chiefly used 
for burial of the towns-people,, while that near Snowhill 
street served for the last resting-place of the slaves and 
freed persons. Undoubtedly it was first used for inter- 
ments about November 1660, the time that the order 
was passed by the townsmen of Boston, that the Old 
Burying-Ground should be " wholly deserted for some 
convenient season, and the new places appointed for 
burying only made use of." ^o older inscription has 
been found than that which records the decease of Mary, 
the daughter of Arthur and Jane Kind, who died on 
the fifteenth of August, 1662, although the stone was 
not erected until several years later, as an inscription of 


"William, another child of the same parents, is on the 
top of the same stone, bearing as the date of death the 
fourteenth of February, 1666. There may, however, be 
older memorials in the yard, hidden, as this was, until a 
few years ago, at the bottom of one of the ancient 
vaults, as a portion of its floor. The only entrance to 
the enclosure was then from Charter street, for to the 
southwest of it was situated the pasture of Judge 
Samuel Sewall, which really belonged to his wife Han- 
nah, as part of her inheritance from her father, the noted 
John Hull, the mint master when the "New England 
shillings were coined, more than two centuries ago, — 
she who is said to have had for her marriage portion her 
weight in silver shilling pieces struck from the I^. E. 
die. On the seventh of January, 1708-9, Judge Sewall 
and his wife Hannah conveyed to Joshua Gee, the father 
of the distinguished clergyman who was from 1723 
to 1748 the colleague and successor of the famous Cot- 
ton Mather, a small portion of this pasture, " one rodd 
square, in which Mrs. Mary Thacher now lyeth buried," 
bounded by, and on the northeast adjoining to the 
burying-ground, " with no right of way except through 
the old burying place." This Mrs. Thacher was the wife 
of Judah Thacher, of Yarmouth, and died on the thir- 
tieth of JSTovember, 1708, in the sixty-eighth year of her 
age, as her gravestone, now standing in the yard, dis- 
tinctly indicates. On the ninth of May, 1711, the inhabi- 
tants of Boston determined to enlarge this graveyard, 
and consequently the Selectmen bought of Judge Sewall 
and wife a large part of the remainder of their pasture, 
measuring, according to the deed of conveyance, passed 
the seventeenth of December, 1711, one hundred and 
seventy feet on Snowhill street, one hundred and eighty 


feet on Hull street, one hundred and forty feet south- 
easterly on private property, and two hundred and fifty 
! feet upon the old burial-ground. These purchases com- 
prise what is now styled the Old l^orth Burying-Ground. 
The northwesterly side formerly communicated with 
Lynn street by a steep and very abrupt bank, which will 
' be well remembered by the boys of fifty years ago, who 
used to claim that territory for their play-ground j and 
perhaps the memory of some may extend back to the 
time when the wishing rock stood conspicuously there in 
its popularity. The portion of SnowhUl street, now lead- 
ing from Hull to Charter streets, was scarcely more than 
a myth, xintU quite recently, being little more than a 
private passage-way between the two streets j in the 
year 1832, however, Mr. Jacob Hall and others purchased 
a portion of land bordering on the northwest side of 
the old ground, and by permission of the city authorities 
established a cemetery called the " Hull Street Ceme- 
tery," and erected rows of tombs, at the same time re- 
Hnquishing their right to the above-named portion of 
Snowhill street, and making an arrangement with the 
city that the street should be a public walk or mall thir- 
ty-three feet in width. This cemetery was discontinued 
in 1853, and the remains removed to Moimt Hope 
Cemetery in February 1861. 

In 1810 the '"l^ew !N'orth Burying-Ground" was 
established, the land for the purpose having been 
purchased on the eighteenth of December, 1809, of Ben- 
jamin Weld. It was bounded on Hull street one hun- 
dred and twenty-six feet; on the old ground about one 
hundred and thirty-eight feet; and on its southerly side 
and fronting upon Hull street stood the old gun-house 
of the Columbian Artillery Company. Fifty-two tombs 


were built around the sides of this new enclosure by 
Hon. Charles Wells, in 1814; and after the gun-house 
was removed, fifteen tombs were built on its site in the 
fall of 1827, by Edward Bell. This yard was arranged 
so that its area should be used for burials in graves, 
which were laid out in ranges, and several deposits were 
allowed to be made in the same grave. The first person 
interred in this small yard was John Richardson, on the 
sixth of July, 1810, who was drowned a few days be- 
fore. The lot occupied by this burial-ground was for- 
merly known as Merry's pasture, Jonathan Merry having | 
long possessed it before he sold it to Mr. "Weld, who con- i 
veyed it to the town. The old gun-house was moved, 
by vote of the town, to this lot in 1810, soon after the ; 
purchase of the estate; and was not removed to its last 
position until the necessity arose for the tombs after- 
wards buUt by Mr. Bell. 

In 1819 Hon. Charles Wells was allowed to build 
tombs, thirty-four in number, in a small graveyard 
bounded twenty feet on Charter street, one hundred and 
twenty feet on the Old Burying-Ground, twenty-eight 
feet southwesterly on the New Burying-Ground, on 
Hull street, and southeasterly on private property. This 
very small yard was fenced in, and was usually styled 
the " Charter Street Burying Ground." But now it has 
become to all appearance part of the old cemetery, the 
division fence having been removed several years ago. 
It was purchased on the third of June, 1819, of John 
Bishop, of Medford, and had formerly belonged to 
]N'athaniel Holmes. 

How, and exactly when, the burial-ground took the 
name of " Copp's HUl Burying-Ground " is not known. 
Old Mr. WUliam Copp, the cordwainer of the early days 



of the town, indeed dwelt on the northwestern part of 
the extreme lunits of the hill, well on towards Prince 
street; but he did not die untU ten years after the es- 
tablishment of the cemetery, and his son David, the 
Elder, an important man at the North End, lived untU 
the twentieth of liTovember, 1713, when he died at the 
good old age of seventy-eight years. Most of the maps 
made about the time of the American Revolution, and a 
few years later, have the name of Copp's Hill attached 
to the portion of the hill lying northwest of SnowhUl 
street, on a part of which the honest old cobbler dwelt. 

There are within the enclosure two hundred and 
twenty-six tombs, two of which belonged to the city, 
one being fitted and prepared for children in June 1833. 
On the twenty-seventh of May, 1833, fifty dollars were 
appropriated by the city authorities towards purchasing 
trees for ornamenting the grounds; and from this date 
the whole appearance of the hill began to change, and 
the place soon resumed its ancient popularity. .Almost 
all of these trees have been removed, and others of a 
more appropriate character have taken their places, 
which gives to the hill a very agreeable shade on sultry 
days. Near the Ellis monument is a weeping willow 
raised from a slip taken in 1840 from the tree which 
gtew over the grave of Napoleon at St. Helena. 

None of the burial-grounds in Boston possess more 
interest than does this old cemetery at the North End. 
During the most of the year its gates are flung open, 
and its walks are frequented by visitors, not only from 
among the neighboring residents, but also by persons 
frgm all parts of the city. Within a few years many 
avenues and by-paths have been laid out, gravestones 
having been removed for this pxu^pose, affording oppor- 


tunities for pleasant promenades, which are by no means 
neglected. The effects of the same busy hands, which 
so ridiculously arranged, or rather disarranged, the 
gravestones, in the Chapel Burying-Ground, are also 
visible on Copp's Hill; and perhaps the same mischiev- 
ous hand which altered the date on the gravestone of 
Mr. John Thwing in the former burial enclosure, so as 
to .have it appear that he died on the sixth of Septem- 
ber, 1620, three months before the pilgrims landed at 
Plymouth, instead of 1690, may also have perpetrated 
the same folly upon the memorial stone erected to the 
memory of Goodwife Grace Berry, who died on the 
seventeenth of May, 1695, and not in 1625, more than 
five years before the settlement of Boston, as the rude 
jack-knife sculptor would make the unwary believe. 
Several other inscriptions have been similarly mutilated. 
This sacrilegious act is not peculiar to the Boston grave- 
yards ; in the venerable old cemetery upon Burying Hill 
in Plymouth, where so many of the forefathers of IsTew 
England ar^ reposing from their labors, and in the old 
graveyard in the City of Charlestown, similar ruthless 
hands have also -been mischievously busy. During the 
siege of Boston, in the early days of the Revolutionary 
"War, the British soldiers amused themselves by firing 
bullets against the gravestones, many proofs of which 
can be seen at the present day, on careful inspection of 
the memorials of noted persons in this and other burial 

The visitor to Copp's Hill can almost always find the 
gates on Charter and Hull streets open, and an attentive 
and respectable person present to point out the objects 
of interest in the yard. He will notice there many monu- 
mental slabs having araiorial devices cut upon them in 


the most exquisite style. Among the most remarkable 
of these may be mentioned that of Dr. John Clark, one 
of the noted family which gave seven generations of 
physicians in a direct line, bearing the same name, and 
that of Hon. William Clarke, both remarkable as works 
of art. The carved tablets over the tombs of the dis- 
tinguished families of Hutchinson, Mountfort, Gee, Lee, 
Martyn and others are well executed, and attract the 
attention very forcibly. 

Copp's Hill is not famous for its monuments, there 
being only a few erected within the enclosure. Of these, 
the principal ones are that erected to the memory of 
Dr. Charles Jarvis, a noted politician, who died on the 
fifteenth November, 1807, aged fifty-nine years, and 
those over the tombs of the well-known families of Ellis, 
Goodrich, Greenwood, Grant, Shaw, and a few others. 

The most ancient of the tombs were built on the 
Hull street side not long after the purchase of the Sewall 
Pasture in 1711 ; those on Snowhill street in 1805, and 
those on the Charter street side in 1807. An infants' 
tomb has been built by the city authorities near the 
westerly corner of the yard, and near it is the mariners' 
tomb, a spacious vault diverted to its present purpose 
not many years ago. 

Kear the centre of the enclosure is a conspicuous 
building, erected a few years since as a chapel, but now 
used as a tool house. Just east of this, and running 
parallel to Charter street is the principal path on the hill. 
This indicates very well the line which separates the 
oi*iginal purchase of 1660 from the more modern pur- 
chase of 1711. It may be a matter of interest to some 
to know that the town was desirous 'of enlarging this 
burial-ground some time before it was effected, and 


chose a committee for the purpose; but nothing being 
done, the committee was discharged and another, con- 
sisting of Timothy Thornton, Hon. Thomas Hutchin- 
son, and Edward Martyn, was appointed, and the duty- 
was speedily performed. About this time the Hutchin- 
son tomb was built, wherein were gathered the father 
and grandfather of Governor Hutchinson, two of the 
most public-spirited inhabitants of the town, to the for- 
mer of whom, Hon. Thomas Hutchinson, the North End 
is indebted for its first school-house, for he first proposed 
the idea, then managed the business in town meetings, 
and finally paid for the buUding from his own funds. 
How ungrateful are republics ! the house now erected on 
the same lot is called the Eliot School, in honor of an 
excellent former pastor of the Kew ISTorth Church, 
though Mr. Hutchinson died on the third of December, 
1739, a very long time before his unhappy son, the 
faithful historian of Massachusetts, became a tory gov- 
ernor, and fled his country to avoid the wrath to come. 
This tomb had upon it a slab which contained a most 
exquisitely chiselled coat of arms of the family; but the 
stranger looks for it almost in vain, for no one would sup- 
pose that any one would cut out the Hutchinson name, 
and insert another, that of one who could scatter the 
dust of the honored dead to the four winds of heaven, 
and occupy the confiscated relic as a last place of re- 
pose, if the dead can rest with such a wrong unrighted. 
In the southeast corner of the enclosure, within an 
iron fence, may be seen the tomb of the Mathers — In- 
crease, Cotton and Samuel — three distinguished doctors 
of theology, and preachers to the iJ^orthenders of the 
olden time. The inscription on the horizontal slab is as 
follows : 


The Eeverend Doctors 


were interred in this vault. 
'Tis the Tomb of our Fathers, 

I. died AUGt. 27th, 1723, ^ 84. 
C. died FEB. 13th, 1727, M 65. 
S. died JUNE 27th, 1785, ^ 79. 

In the centre of the burial-ground, a few feet south 
of the tool-house, may also be seen the large triple 
gravestone of the three "Worthylakes, George in his 
forty-fifth year, his wife Ann ia her fortieth, and their 
daughter Ruth. Mr. Worthylake was the first keeper 
of the Boston Lighthouse, known as the Outer Light. 
Coming up to town on Monday, the third of I^ovember, 
1718, the three were drowned, the sad event giving an 
opportunity to the youthful Franklia to write a ballad, 
which he designated as the " Lighthouse Tragedy," and 
which he printed and sold about the streets, his earhest 
poetic efiusion. Not a word of this ballad is remembered ; 
but it was undoubtedly in a different strain fi;'om that 
which may be seen on the gravestone of Mrs. Hunt: 

Here lyes Ye Body of 
Mrs. Ammey Hunt Wife of 

Mr. Benjamiit Hunt 
Who died Nov. 26, 1769. 
Aged 40 Years. 
A Sister of Sarah Lucus lieth here, 
Whom I did Love most Dear, 
And now her Soul hath took its Flight 
And bid her Spightful Foes good Night. 

l!^'obody now knows the point of these lines, but 
many persons ask for the reason of spelling the word 
"spightful" so strongly. The putative author, Mrs. 


Sarah Lucas, wife of Captain Roger, survived her sister 
two and a half years, and was buried near her, but with- 
out any rhymes. Another affectionate inscription is 
worth preserving in print. It tells its own story: 

In memory of 


Wife of David Darling, 

died March 23d, 1809, M. 43. 

She was the Mother of 17 Children, and around 

her lies 12 of them, and 2 were lost at Sea. 

Brother Sext07is 

please to leave a clear hirthfor me 

near by this Stone. 

Mr. Darling was sexton of the North Church and 
dwelt in Salem street; he died on the tenth of Septem- 
ber, 1820, and his wishes were disregarded, as he was 
buried in a tomb in the same yard, and no one raised a 
memorial to his memory. 

The following pathetic lines are appended to an in- 
scription which tells the passer by that Miss Hannah 
Langford died on the nineteenth of lifovember, 1796, 
aged fifteen years and six months: 

Nor youth, nor innocence could save 
Hannah from the insatiate grave ; 
But cease our tears, no longer weep ; 
The little maid doth only sleep. 
Anon she'll wake and rise again, 
And in her Saviour's arms remain. 

Mr. Peter Gilman, who died within the present cen- 
tury, allows us to read the following brief lecture : 

Stop, my friends, and in a mirror see 
What you, though e'er so healthy, soon must be, 
Beauty, with all her rosebuds, paints each face; 
Approaching death will strip you of e'ach grace. 


Poor Kobert Caddall, who lost his wife Jerusha on 
the fourteenth of ]S"ovember, 1771, in her thirtieth year, 
thus laments and consoles himself. 

O cruel Death, that would not to us spare 
A loving wife, a kind companion dear; 
Great grief it is to friends that's left behind, 
But she, we hope, eternal joys did find. 

The following inscription, of much more happy con- 
ception, is on the gravestone of the wife of a well- 
known Boston silversmith: 

Death with his dart hath pierced my heart, 

While I was in my prime ; 
When this you see, grieve not for me, 

'Twas God's appointed time. 

The gravestone which attracts the greatest attention 
of visitors is that of Captain Daniel Malcom, a mer- 
chant, who made himself quite noted for his opposition 
to the unjust and oppressive revenue acts of the Eng- 
lish government. In February 1768, he had a schooner 
arrive in the harbor laden with a valuable cargo of 
wines, which he was determined should escape the un- 
popular duties. Consequently, the vessel was detained 
and anchored about five miles from the town, among the 
islands in the harbor, and the wine, contained in about 
sixty casks, was brought up under the cover of night, 
guarded by parties of men armed with clubs, and 
deposited in various parts of the town. A meeting of 
the merchants and traders was subsequently held, at 
which the captain presided, and it was determined by 
them not to import any English commodities, except 
such as should be required for the fisheries, for eighteen 


months. This incensed the officers and menials of the 
government very much; but it was persisted in, and 
hence the remarkable inscription which was placed a 
httle over a year afterwards upon the large memorial 
stone erected over his grave. This stone particularly 
attracted the attention of the British soldiery, and the 
marks of their bullets are very perceptible on its face. 
The inscription is as follows : 

Here lies buried in a 

Stone Grave 10 feet deep 


Who departed tMs Life 

October 23d 1769 

Aged 44 Tears. 

a true son of Liberty 

a Friend to the Publick an 

Enemy to oppression and 

one of the foremost in 

opposing the Bevenue Acts 

on America. 

"When the grave was repaired a short time ago, the 
stone grave turned out to be built of brick. Its mouth 
was sealed and closed, probably forever. Perhaps if 
Deacon Boutcher had written the epitaph, he would 
have said something like what he did on the death of 
his daughter Mary, in 1767: 

Some hearty friend may drop a tear, 

On these dry bones and say, 
These limbs were active once like thine, 
But thine must be as they. 



Granary Burying-Ground, formerly the South Burying-Gronnd, and sometimes 
the Common (or Middle) Burying-Ground • • • Burial Districts • • • Bounda- 
ries of the Granary Burying-Ground • • • Established in 1660 • • • Enlarged on 
the South and East • ■ ■ Date of the Tombs • • ■ Hancock Tomb • • • Surround- 
ing Streets • • ■ Unfortunate Selection of the Lot • ■ • Governor Bellingham, 
and his Tomb and Young Wife • ■ • Drains ■ ■ • Great Number of Burials • • ■ 
Trees and Palhs • • ■ Pranklin Obelisk • ■ ■ Franklin's Parents, and Uncle Ben- 
jamin • • • Oldest Gravestone •• • Heraldic Devices, and Monuments • • ■ Elisha 
Brown's Gravestone • • • Grave oT Benjamin Woodbridge • • • French Protes- 
tants, and their First Minister, Peter Daill6 • • • Noted Burials • ■ • Victims 
to the Boston Massacre • • • Joseph Warren • • . The Oldest Tombstone - • • 
Verses on the Tomb of Mrs. Hannah Allen. 

The Granary Burying-Ground, situated west of Tre- 
mont street, is the third place of burial that was estab- 
lished in Boston, and bears date as early as the year 
1660. It owes its origia to the scanty provision that 
had originally been made in selecting the site of the 
first cemetery, King's Ohapel Burying-Ground, and 
because the population of the peninsula had begun to 
increase quite sensibly at what was then known as the 
southerly part of the town. In its earlier years, this 
graveyard was known as the South Burying-Ground, a 
name which it retained until about the year 1737, when 
it began to be called the Granary Burying-Ground, 
because the old Granary building, which had before that 
time stood near the head of Park street, had been 


removed that year to the present site of Park street 
meeting-house. From that date, the cemetery bore both 
names, and at a later period, after the establishment of 
that upon Boylston street, it was sometimes called the 
Common Burying-Ground, and sometimes the Middle 
Burying-Ground, because it was situated in what was 
designated the Middle Burial District, Copp's Hill yard 
forming the !N^orth, and the Boylston Street (or Com- 
mon) Burying-Ground the South. In May 1830, when 
the trees were set out, which so much improve its pres- 
ent appearance, an attempt was made to give this old 
yard the name " Franklin Cemetery." But the project 
failed, and the Burying-Ground was allowed to com- 
memorate one of the active benevolences of our philan- 
thropic predecessors, the Granary 

The Granary Burying-Ground was originally part 
of the Common, which extended north as far as Beacon 
street, embracing the whole square now bounded by j 
Tremont, Beacon, and Park streets. About the year 
1660, the graveyard was established; and in 1662 the 
portion of land southwest of it was taken for the public 
buildings that were subsequently erected there, and 
which were known as the Bridewell, Almshouse, House 
of Correction and Granary; and the land at the north 
and northwest of it was early granted for household 
accommodations. The burying-ground is now bounded 
about three hundred and twenty-seven feet southeasterly 
on Tremont street; about two hundred and ninety- 
seven feet southwesterly on the rear of the houses front- 
ing on Park street; about two hundred and ten feet 
northwesterly on the Athenaeum and the estates front- 
ing on Beacon street; and about two hundred and six- 
ty-two feet on its northeastern side. The small garden 


bfelonging to the Tremont House makes a boundary at 
its northeast corner of thii'ty-seven feet on the easterly 
side and twenty feet on the northerly side, near Tremont 

Originally the graves were only made at the wes- 
terly and northerly part of the yard, and the approaches 
to the enclosure, after the fence was erected, were by 
two gates, one at the extreme southerly comer near the 
meeting-house, and the other about 40 feet south of the 
I Tremont House garden. The oldest tombs were built 
near the back part of the yard, and with the contiguous 
graves occupy about one-quarter of the burial-ground. 

On the fifteenth of May, 1717, a vote was passed by 
the townsmen " to enlarge the South Burying Ground 
by taking in part of the highway on the easterly side 
thereof, so as that thereby y^ said Highway be not 
thereby too much straitened," leaving the details of 
the matter to the discretion of the Selectmen; and on 
the nineteenth of April, 1719, it was " ordered, that the 
South Burying Place should be enlarged next the Com- 
mon or Training Field." This last vote was carried out 
in 1720, and fifteen tombs were buUt, which the next 
year were assigned to Jonathan Belcher, Thomas Gush- 
ing, James Bowdoin, George Bethune, Adino Bulfinch, 
Joshua Henshaw and others. These were near the ex- 
treme southwest corner of the yard, and extended in a 
line on the south side. In 1722 six tombs were built on 
the same line, extending easterly; the first of which 
(numbered 16) , became the property of Hon. Thomas 
Hancock, and is the place of deposit of the remains of 
his distinguished nephew, John, the first governor 
of the Commonwealth under the Constitution, and the 
writer of the remarkable autograph first penned upon 


the Declaration of Independence. Ko monument has 
been erected to the memory of these worthies, a white 
marble slab with the simple inscription, " IN'o. 16. tomb 
OF HANCOCK," only indicating the family tomb, although 
a small stone in the yard informs us that " Frank, ser- 
vant to John Hancock, Esq., lies interred here, who died 
23d Jan'y, 1771, aetatis 8." Hon. Thomas Hancock, the 
uncle, died on the first of August, 1764, aged sixty-two 
years, and John, the nephew and governor, died on the 
eighth of October, 1793, aged fifty-six years. The 
other tombs on the southerly side, fifteen in number, 
were built during the years 1723, 1724 and 1725; the 
first thirty on the easterly side, in the years 1726, 1727 
and 1728, and the northerly thirteen in 1736; of those 
on the northerly side, the first five in 1738, and the re- 
maining twenty-six in 1810; and twenty-six on the 
westerly side, during the same and next three. years. 
There are sixty other tombs within the yard, which do 
not border upon either of its sides, one of which, be- 
longing to the city, has been appropriated for children. 

The Highway, as it was anciently called (although 
a century ago it bore the name of Long Acre, and 
more recently has at times been known as Common 
street and Tremount street, and has finally taken the name 
of Tremont street), was always open ground to our 
fathers. The portion of Beacon street at the north of 
the Tremont House was laid out by an order of the 
townsmen passed the thirtieth of March, 1640; and the 
street now known as Park street, but formerly as Gentry 
(or Sentry) street and sometimes misspelled Century 
street, is of comparatively modem origin, not being de- 
lineated on any of the maps more than eighty years old, 
and first appearing on Norman's Map, printed in 1789. 


In one respect the selection of the site for this ceme- 
tery was particularly unfortunate. The soil was springy 
and exceedingly damp, and therefore required drainage. 
It is said that when Judge Sullivan, at the close of the 
last century, repaired the Bellingham tomb, near the west- 
erly wall, he found the cofSn and remains of the old Grov- 
ernor — who died on the seventh of December, 1672, in 
the eighty-first year of his age — floating around in the 
ancient vault. One hundred and ten years form a long 
period for such a kind of navigation; but when we re- 
member that the Governor outlived all the other original 
Patentees under the First, or Colonial Charter, and was 
almost an exception to all rules in his day and genera- 
tion, some credit may be given to the story. Mr. Bell- 
ingham was a queer man, as the following incident in his 
life will exemplify. The record comes from Governor 
Winthrop's Journal, and was written when Bellingham 
was Governor, and the writer senior member of the 
Board of Assistants. 'Nov. 9, 1641. "■ The Govemour, 
Mr. Bellingham, was married, (I would not mention 
such ordinary matters in our history, but by occasion of 
some remarkable accidents.) The young gentlewoman 
was ready to be contracted to a friend of his, who lodged 
in his house, and by his consent had proceeded so far 
with her, when on the sudden the Governour treated 
with her, and obtained her for himself. He excused it 
by strength of his affection, and that she was not abso- 
lutely promised to the other gentleman. Two errors 
more he committed upon it. 1. That he would not have 
his contract published where he dwelt, contrary to an 
order of Court. 2. That he married himself contrary 
to the common practice of the country. The great in- 
quest presented him for breach of the order of Court 


and at the Court following, in the 4th month, the Sec- 
retary called him to answer the prosecution. But he not 
going off the bench, as the manner was, and but few of 
the magistrates present, he put it off to another time, 
intending to speak with him privately, and with the rest 
of the magistrates about the case, and accordingly he 
told him the reason why he did not proceed, viz., being 
unwilling to command him publicly to go off the bench, 
and yet not thiuMng it fit he should sit as a judge, when 
he was by law to answer as an offender. This he took 
ill, and said he would not go off the bench, except he 
were commanded." And so the matter was dropped. 
The young lady was Penelope, sister of Herbert Pel- 
ham, one of the most influential of the early settlers of 
the Massachusetts colony. She was twenty-two years 
old, and the Governor fifty, when they were married; 
and she survived him about thirty years, and died on 
the twenty-eighth of May, 1702, aged eighty-three years. 

On the removal of the Granary Building to its new 
position, in 1737, the drain which had formerly been dis- 
charged upon the Common was stopped, and the tombs 
thereby filled with water; and a new drain was laid com- 
municating with the common sewer, which emptied itself 
at the dock near the head of Bull's Wharf; and conse- 
quently the tombs were in a degree relieved from the 
excessive accumulation of water. In the summer of 
1868, when workmen were engaged digging for the 
foundation for the Brewer fountain, remains of the old 
drain were discovered and laid open to view. Water 
was first played from this beautiful fountain on the third 
of June, 1868. 

In 1740, " a petition of John Chambers and others, 
gravediggers, presented to the selectmen, representing 


that the old and South Burying Places are so filled with 
Dead Bodies, they are obliged oft times to bury them 
four deep, praying it may be laid before the Town, for 
their consideration," was referred to the selectmen, and 
resulted in 1756 in the establishment of the burial- 
ground on Boylston street. 

The trees in the grounds were set out in the spring 
of 1830, chiefly obtained by subscription; and the iron 
fence on Tremont street ia 1840, the cost being about 
$5,000, half of the expense of which was defrayed by the 
city. The paths have mostly been laid out since the last 
date; and an addition is made from time to time to the 
trees and shrubs which shade and ornament them. Every 
Sunday afternoon, a few hours before sunset, the gate is 
opened and the public are admitted to the-enclosure. 

The old trees of Paddock's Mall, with their thickly 
set leaves, produce a most grateful shade iri front of 
this old grave-yard; and, while they protect from the 
burning summer's sun the passenger, who stops awhUe 
to survey the quaint old gravestones and the more 
pretentious sculptured tablets that designate the pro- 
prietors of the tombs, add much to the picturesque 
appearance of the spot. 

This old burying-ground is rich with memories of 
the past; and has connected with it historical reminis- 
cences inferior in point of interest to that of no other 
cemetery in Massachusetts. Within the walls of this 
enclosure lie many of the most notable of the worthies 
of Boston. ISTo yard here has given rest to the mortal 
remains of more distinguished persons than tliis. One 
caimot pass around its modern walks — laid out with 
the same disregard to ancient memorials as are those 
of the other burial-grounds on the peninsula — without 


noticing the names of persons noted for the well-re- 
membered parts they have taken in the affairs of the 
town, commonwealth and country. The mention of a 
few of these memorials may awaken recollections of the 
past, and point out to some future pilgrim objects which 
in a few short years may be forgotten. 

On entering the cemetery by the main gate which 
fronts Bromfield street, the visitor first notices a neat 
granite obelisk, standing nearly in the centre of the yard. 
This is the monument raised over the tomb in which re- 
pose the parents and other relatives of Franklin. It 
was erected in 1827 by a few citizens of Boston, to ren- 
der more conspicuous a much revered spot. The corner- 
stone of the structure was laid by Hon. Charles Wells, 
with an appropriate address and becoming ceremonies, 
on the fifteenth of June, in the presence of the Governor 
of the Commonwealth and the oflScers and members of 
the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic Association. The 
obelisk is constructed of five massive ashlers of Quincy 
granite, taken from the Bunker Hill Monument quarry; 
and is twenty-one feet in height, and stands upon a 
rectangular base two feet high, and measuring seven 
feet on each of its four sides. On the easterly side of 
the monument the name of Franklin is cut in bold re- 
lief in large letters, and a short space beneath this is a 
bronze tablet, about thirty-two inches long and sixteen 
wide, set into the stone, and containing, in the following 
words, the original inscription, composed by Franklin, 
with an additional paragraph by the liberal citizens who, 
out of profound regard and veneration for the memory 
of the illustrious son, and desirous of reminding suc- 
ceeding generations that he was of Boston birth and 
origin, erected the obelisk in its present excellent and 



penuaneut form, and laid beneath it the original tablet 
which had been placed there in filial duty: 






J. F. BORN 1655 — DIED 1744,—^. 89. 

A. F. 1667 1752,-^.85. 









Josiah, the father of Dr. FranMin, was born at Ec- 
ton, ]!l^'orthainptonshire, England, on the twenty-third of 
December, 1657, and died in Boston on the sixteenth 
of January, 1744-45, aged eighty-seven years; so we 
find that even the epitaph of the philosopher's father 
sustains the old proverb, that gravestones will lie. The 
following excellent tribute to the old man's memory 
appeared in the Boston JSTews-Letter on the morning 
after his death: 


"Boston, Jany. 17, 1744-5. Last night died Mr. 
Josiah Franklin, tallow-chandler and soapmaker: By 
the force of a steady Temperance he had made a con- 
stitution, none of the strongest, last with comfort to the 
age of Eighty-seven years; and by an entire Depen- 
dence on his Redeeirier, and a constant course of the 
strictest Piety and virtue, he was enabled to die, as he 
lived, with cheerfulness, leaving a numerous posterity 
the honor of being descended from a person, who thro' 
a long life supported the character of an honest man." 

^ot far from the Franklin tomb is the gravestone of 
Franklin's uncle Benjamin, a silk-dyer by trade, but a 
poet by genius. He came to this country when the 
future philosopher was only nine years old, and dwelt 
with Josiah four j'^ears, that he might be constantly with 
his much loved nephew, in whose education he took an 
especial interest. The inscription is as foUows : 

YEARS DECd march 
Ye 17 17 27. 

A short distance west of these memorials now stands 
the gravestone that bears the following inscription, the 
oldest in the yard : 

DECd JUNE Ye 18 
16 6 7. 

It follows, of course, that either the burials must 
have been very infrequent, or else the graves were not 
marked with stones; for the burial-ground was laid out 


certainly seven years previous to the date of Mr. Wake- 
field's decease. 

Heraldic devices, most excellently cut in English 
slatestone are very numerous in the Granary Burying- 
Groundj but monuments, if the hoiizontal tombstones 
are excepted, are very rare. These were erected to the 
memory of Governor Increase Sumner, Lieutenant-Gov- 
ernor Thomas Gushing, and a few others. Some of the 
tablets have elaborate inscriptions, written in good taste, 
commemorating the excellent qualities possessed by the 
deceased; but the poetic effusions are not so numerous 
as can be found in the Burying-Ground upon Copp's 

The central situation of this cemetery, and its promi- 
nent position, facing upon one of the most travelled 
streets of the city, the great thoroughfare that connects 
the capitol of the State with the neighboring N^orth- 
western and Southern counties, would indicate it as 
an eminently proper site for sephulcral monuments of 
Boston's distinguished dead, so many of whom lie be- 
neath the sods of this sacred enclosure. 

One of the most remarkable inscriptions can be read 
on the tablet standing over the grave of Mr. Elisha 
Brown, who died in August 1785, at the age of sixty- 
five years. This person was an inhabitant of the 
southerly part of Boston, and became quite noted in 
consequence of coming into collision with the British 
troops in 1769, when they held possession of the town. 
It appears that his house, a very commodious mansion, 
was selected as being well adapted for the purpose of 
barracks, and accordingly he was ordered to vacate the 
premises for the use of soldiers. Whereupon he refused 
to comply, and the house was surrounded by the troops, 


and kept in a state of siege. For seventeen days Mr. 
Brown kept possession of his house, having barred the 
witidows and doors, being sustained by the family stores 
and what he could obtain from his friends from without. 
By this method he completely thwarted the designs of 
the enemy. The inscription is as follows: 



who in Octr 1769, during 17 days 

inspired with 

a generous Zeal for the LAWS 

bravely and successfully 

opposed a whole British Begt 

in their violent attempt 

to FOECE him from his 

legal Habitation. 

Happy Citizen when caU'd singley 

to be a Barrier to the Liberties 

of a Continent. 

Another stone, which may be seen from the sidewalk 
outside of the yard, recalls a sad story. This stone was 
the last humble memorial which a disappointed and 
heartstricken family had placed over the remains of one 
who in an unlucky and unguarded moment had been 
untimely hurried from this life by the rash and melan- 
choly act of a companion; and which, as all such acts 
are sure to do, caused immeasurable grief and pain to 
worthy relatives, and remorse and bitter repining to the 
repentant and short-lived author of the calamity. It 
stands, as when first erected, over the grave of poor 
Woodbridge, whose tragical end has found an able 
remembrancer m the person of the Sexton of the Old 

There are but few who pass by this unostentatious 
slab of unpretending slate who know the brief history 


of Benjamin Woodbridge. AH, however, may read the 
following inscription: 




1728, EST YE 20 TH 


The story of young "Woodbridge is soon told; for be- 
fore he had completed his twentieth year he fell a victim 
of a duel, the first fought in Boston. The parties to this 
sad transaction were himself, a young merchant of great 
promise, who had just completed his education, having 
been sent to Boston from a distant abode for the pur- 
pose, and who had recently been admitted to business as 
a partner with Mr. Jonathan Sewall, one of the most 
active merchants of the place; and his antagonist, Mr. 
Henry Phillips, then a young graduate of the College at 
Cambridge, who had lately been associated with his 
brother Gillam, who had recently succeeded his father, 
Samuel Phillips, in the business of bookselling. Phillips 
was also young; yet he was about four years older than 
"Woodbridge; for at the time of the melancholy alfair 
he had but just completed his twenty-third year. The 
social position of both was eminently respectable; for 
each was related to the best families in the Province, 
both by descent and by family alliances. It is not gener- 
ally known, even by those who are familiar with the gen- 
eral facts, that Woodbridge was son of a gentleman of 
some distinction in Barbadoes, one of the magistrates 
there, who had formerly been settled in the ministry as 
pastor of the church in Groton, Connecticut. 


The cause of the difficulty between the young gen- 
tlemen was a dispute at a card-table. The place of 
meeting was on the rising ground of the Common, not 
far from the Great Elm, near where in the olden times a 
powder house stood, but where until quite recently on 
gala occasions floated the flag of our Union. The weap- 
ons on the occasion were small swords. The combat 
was in the evening, and the parties were unattended. 
Woodbridge fell mortally wounded by a thrust through 
the body, and died on the spot before the next morning. 
Philhps was slightly wounded and, at midnight, by the 
aid of his brother Gillam, and Peter Faneuil, of famous 
memory, made his escape, and being received on board 
the Sheerness, a British man-of-war then lying in the 
harbor, was on his way to France before the sun of 
the next morning had fully discovered to interested 
friends the miserable result of the unfortunate meeting. 
Within a twelvemonth young Phillips died at Ro- 
chelle, in Prance, of grief and a broken heart. What 
a lesson does that silent gravestone perpetually teach! 

In a portion of the Granary Burying- Ground, south- 
west of the Franklin Obelisk, is the burial spot selected 
by most of the French Protestants who sought protec- 
tion in Boston after the revocation of the edict of IS^antes. 
Many of the gravestones of these worthy people can be 
now seen standing in their places. For a long time the 
grave of Pierre Daille, the beloved minister of their 
church established here, had been an object of search by 
those who held the name and memory of this excellent 
man in high respect. In May 1860, after much explo- 
ration, the humble foot-stone, which in part served to 
denote the last resting-place of this estimable pastor, 
was accidentally discovered in the Granary Burial- 


Ground, where for many years it had been entirely hid- 
den from view, being covered by the soU and sods of 
that sacred enclosure. It has been restored to public 
view, and placed scarcely two rods from the entrance 
gate to the cemetery, at one of the corners formed by 
one of the numerous by-paths and the main avenue of 
the yard. The headstone could not be found in the 
yard; but another accident a few weeks later disclosed 
the hiding-place of the much sought for memorial, which 
the friends of the deceased had placed at his grave to 
designate the exact spot of his interment. Wbile labor- 
ers were employed in excavating a cellar on an old 
estate in Pleasant street, they suddenly struck upon 
the stone, which for some unknown reason had been 
removed years ago to that remote place. The inscrip- 
tion, cut in the slatestone slab, is as foUows : 




2 1 ST OF MAY 1715 


It wUl be seen by the following extract taken from 
the Boston !N^ews-Letter that the date of decease given 
on the stone differs from that generally quoted by 
biographers : 

" Boston, May 23, 1715. On Friday morning last, 
the 20th current, Dyed here the Reverend Mr. Peter 
Daille, Pastor of the French Congregation, aged about 
66 years. He was a Person of great Piety, Charity, 
affable and courteous Behaviour, and of an exemplary 


Life and Conversation, mucli Lamented, especially by 
his Flock; and was Decently Interr'd on the Lord's 
Day Evening, the 22d Instant." 

Monsieur Daille, while a resident of Boston, had 
buried two wives, — Esther-Latonice, who died on the 
fourteenth of December, 1696, and Seike, who died on 
the thirty-first of August, 1713. He left a widow named 
Mai'tha. In his will he directed his executor (the father 
of Governor Bowdoin) to see that his body was " decently 
interred," and, in his own words, " with this restriction, 
that there be no wine at my funeral, and none of my 
wife's relations have any mourning clothes furnished 
them except gloves." All the clergy of the town, how- 
ever, were presented with gloves and scarfs. The stone 
has been placed in the Granary yard, near its foot-stone. 

Among the noted persons buried in this enclosure, it 
may not be improper nor invidious to mention Richard 
Bellingham, a Colonial Governor; WUliam Dummer, an 
acting Provincial Governor; and Governors Hancock, 
Bowdoin, Adams, Sumner, Sullivan, Gore and Eustis, 
who held office after the adoption of the Constitution; 
Robert Treat Paine, signer of the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence; John Hull, the famous mint master of 1652; 
Judge Samuel Sewall, of noted memory; and in a brick 
grave near the Tremont House, Edward Eawson, Secre- 
tary of the Colony; Josiah Willard, Secretary of the 
Province; Peter Faneuil, of blessed memory; Hon. John 
Phillips, the first mayor of the city; Rev. Thomas Prince, 
the annalist; Rev. Doctors Belknap, Lathrop, Eckley, 
Stillman and Baldwin; and Paul Revere, the famous 
mechanic, and a long list of other notables sleep within 
this sacred and hallowed graveyard. ISTor should it be 
forgotten, that under the larch tree, about sixty feet 



from the north wall, and about twenty feet from the 
front fence, quietly moulder the ashes of the victims 
of the Boston Massacre of the ever memorable fifth of 
March, 1770; and in the Minot tomb, near Park street 
MeetingrHouse, were first deposited the remains of Gen. 
Joseph Warren, after they were reclaimed from their 
first grave in Charlestown. 

The oldest inscription on a horizontal slab is that 
recording the death of Mrs. Hannah Allen, wife to Kev. 
James Allen, Pastor of the First Church. She died on 
twenty-sixth of February, 1667-8, aged twenty-one years. 
The poetry upon her tombstone, being undoubtedly the 
first placed withia the burial-ground, may not improperly 
be used to close the present chapter: — 

" Stayl thou this tomb that passeth by, 
And think how soon that thou may'st die: 
If sex, or age, or virtue bright 
Would have prolong'd to these, it might, 
Though virtue made not death to stay: 
Yet turn'd it was to be their way. 
And if with them thou wouldst be blest, 
Prepare to dye before thou rest" 



First Advent of the Quakers 1656, and their Harsh Treatment ■ . • First 
Quaker Meeting- House in Boston, built 1694, sold 1709 • • ■ Grave of John 
Soames ■ • • Quaker Meeting-Honse in Congress street, built in 1709 by 
William Mumford ■ ■ ■ Situation and Dimensions of the Lot . • . House and its 
Size ■ • . House Burned in 1760, and Repaired ; Taken Down in 1825 • • • 
Burial-Ground Discontinued in 1815, and the Eemains Removed to Lynn in 
1826 ■ . . Grave of "William Mumford • ■ • Quaker Estate Sold in 1828 • • • New 
Meeting-House Erected in Milton Place in 1828, and sold in May 1865 • • • 
Early Distinguished Quakers. 

The cemetery that belonged to the Society of Friends, 
and which was called the Quaker Burying-Ground, 
was the fourth in point of antiquity in Boston. This 
religious sect, although it has never been very numerous 
in Boston, yet had, very early in the history of l^ew 
England, a respectable number of firm and conscien- 
tious adherents in the metropolis, — the first of whom 
made their appearance in the summer of 1656, about 
twelve years after the rise of the denomination in Leices- 
tershire, England. The first who came to Boston 
were imprisoned immediately on their arrival, and at 
the earliest opportunity were sent back to Barbadoes 
and England, whence they came. For many years this 
people were subjected to the most humiliating treatment, 
and to punishments of the greatest severity. Some had 
one of their ears cut ofi^, some their tongues bored with 
Jiot irons, and others were publicly executed by hanging. 


This barbarity" will forever cast a stigma upon the ad- 
ministration of Governor Endicott, who as Mr. John 
Hull, the mint master, tells us, " had very faithfully en- 
deavor* the suppression of a pestellent generation, the 
troubles of o' peace, civUl and eclesiastick." The per- 
secution of this sect, however, excited in some a sympa- 
thy; on the execution of the Quakers in 1659, one of 
the persons in attendance, Mr. Edward Wanton, a per- 
son of considerable consequence, became so affected that 
he soon afterwards was converted to the Quaker doc- 
trines, and was subsequently one of the most influential 
and enthusiastic of their number. 

During the Colonial Government of Massachusetts, 
the Society of Friends had no regular place of worship, 
although meetings for religious exercises were held as 
frequently as the defenceless condition of the Society 
would allow, the earliest of which any account has been 
preserved being on the fourth of May, 1664, about ten 
months previous to Governor Endicott's decease. On 
the adoption of the Provincial Charter, which passed 
the seals on the seventh of October, 1691, and which 
was brought to Boston on the fourteenth of May, 1692, 
by Governor William Phips, the Society was placed 
nearer on an equality with the other sects of Christians, 
and was so much relieved from oppression that its prin- 
cipal men set themselves about providing a permanent 
place of worship. One of their number, William Mum- 
ford, a stonecutter by trade, who seems to have had 
considerable experience in trading in real estate, pur- 
chased a large lot of land in " Brattle Close or Pasture," 
as it was then styled, being the estate now covered with 
the building at the corner of Brattle street and Brattle 
square, called the "Quincy House." This lot, measur-; 


ing nearly fifty-three feet upon Brattle street (as the 
square was then designated), and forty-four feet in the 
rear, being about one hundred and thirty feet deep, was 
part of the original grant of Captain William Tyng; and 
on his decease, which occurred on the eighteenth of Janu- 
ary, 1652-3, it fell to his eldest daughter Elizabeth, the 
wife of Major Thomas Brattle, and then to Thomas 
Brattle, the noted Treasurer of Harvard College, who sold 
it on the tenth of July, 1694, to Mr. Mumford. Mum- 
ford built a brick meeting-house twenty-four by twenty 
feet upon the front part of the lot; and on the second of 
the following February conveyed a portion of the land, 
measuring about twenty-five feet and three inches on the 
street, twenty-one feet on the rear, and about one hun- 
dred and twenty-eight feet deep, to Walter Clarke, Esq., 
of IN'ewport, E. I., Edward Shippen, Esq., of Philadel- 
phia (late of Boston), John Soames of Boston, Edward 
"Wanton of Scituate, and William Chamberlain of Hull, 
trustees, to be held by .them " to the only sole and proper 
use for the service and worship of Almighty God by the 
society or commimity of People called Quakers, at all 
and every time and times forever hereafter when and as 
often as need shall require, and to and for none other 
use, intent or purpose whatsoever." This lot and the 
brick meeting-house upon it were sold to Thomas 
Clarke of Boston, pewterer, on the twenty-seventh of 
July, 1709, after, as it will appear, Mr. Miunford had 
purchased another lot elsewhere for the accommodation 
of the Society. 

It has been thought that a portion of the Brattle 
street lot was used for a cemetery by the Society of 
Friends; but this idea does not appear to be substan- 
tiated by any record that can be found, and it is certain 


that Mr. Soames, one of the trustees, who died m iffo- 
vember 1700, nearly nine years before it was sold, was 
buried in Copp's Hill Buryiag-Ground, where his grave- 
stone can be now seen by any one who desires to see 
the last earthly resting-place of one of a sect which 
had very little quiet in this world, at least when Friend 
Soames was allowed to follow the busiaess of a cooper 
at the ISTorth End of the town. The following is an 
exact transcript of the inscription: 


l^o other person of note belonging to the sect and 
residing ia Boston died, as far as can be ascertained, 
while the Quakers held possession of this estate. I^ow, 
"as there is no other foundation for the belief that the 
Society of Friends had a burial-place near their fii'st 
meeting-house than the fact of owning land behind it, 
there cannot be a great error in judgment in inferring 
that there were no burials there, and that when they sold 
the estate and purchased another they provided for the 
burial of their associates in the new lot, and also that 
the first ground set apart for their burials was that 
which they so tenaciously retained possession of many 
years after there were any families of the denomination 
residing in the town. 

The second venture of the Society was the purchase 
of the Congress street estate, so well remembered by 
many persons now living. Here was established the 


Quaker Burying-Ground in the year 1709. One of the 
number, Mr. William Mumford, the person already men- 
tioned, on the fifth of January, 1707-8, purchased of Dr. 
Elisha Cooke and the other heirs of Governor John 
Leverett, the land, which by deeds dated on the twenty- 
eighth of April, 1709, and twenty-ninth of June, 1713, 
he conveyed to Samuel Collins of Lynn (who of all 
others had a queer trade for a Quaker, for he was a 
gunsmith), and to Thomas Eichardson of Boston, who 
some time between the two dates removed to Newport, 
R. I ; and these last on the tenth of June, 1717, exe- 
cuted an indenture with Walter I^ewberry of Boston, 
merchant, Robert Buffun and Samuel Pope, blacksmith, 
and Joshua Buffun, husbandman, all three of Salem, 
and Matthew Estes, Jr., of Scituate, currier, as trustees 
for the Society, placing the land and newly built meet- 
ing-house at the disposal of these brethren. From this 
time the estate was held by trustees or overseers until 
August 1828, when several persons of Lynn, Danvers 
and Salem, as overseers of the Salem Monthly Meet- 
ing, conveyed the estate to Dr. Edward H. Eobbins, and 
the society styled the Yearly Meeting of Friends for 
New England released all right in the same. 

The lot was situated in Leverett's lane (now called 
Congress street), opposite Lindall street, and, by the 
original deed of conveyance, measured about fifty feet 
in front, sixty in the rear, about one hundred and sixty 
on the south, and one hundred and forty on the north. 
In the course of little over a century, the length of the 
lot shrunk nearly thirty feet by the widening of Con- 
gress street and other causes. 

On the front part of the estate, the Quakers, in 1709, 
erected their meeting-house, to take the place of that in 


Brattle square, which they left the same year. The new 
building was of brick, covering a space thirty feet by 
thirty-five, and setting back sufficiently to allow of a 
high wooden fence in front, the large gate of which was 
seldom opened between the years 1709 and 1808 (just 
one hundred years), except for a portion of the small 
monthly meetings of the brethren, which were held alter- 
nately within its walls and at Salem and Lynn, and now 
and then for a burial. By the great fire which occurred 
on the twentieth of March, 1760, this buUding was much 
injured, but was repaired the same year. The meetings 
having been discontinued in the year 1808, the building 
became of very little use, and the Society, on the second 
of AprU, 1825, sold it for the value of its material, the 
whole edifice bringing only $160, and it was soon taken 

The rear part of the lot appears to have been used 
for burial purposes from the time of the purchase in 
1709 until the twenty-second of June, 1815, although 
the interments were of very unfrequent occurrence. On 
the fifteenth of May, 1826, the following order was passed 
in the Board of Aldermen, on petition of Estes ]N"ewhall, 
of Lynn, and others : — " Ordered, that the petitioners be 
permitted to take up all the remains of the dead from 
the burial ground in Congress street, commonly called 
the Quaker Burying Ground, and to reinter them in their 
burying ground in Lynn; the same to be done under 
the direction of the superintendent of burial grounds." 
This duty was performed between the twenty-eighth of 
June and seventh of July of the same year, and the 
remains of seventy-two adults and of thirty-nine chil- 
dren were removed to Lynn, and the bodies of two adult 
persons were delivered up to their brother and deposited 


in King's Chapel Cemetery, making one hundred and 
thirteen in all. The remains of others were found sub- 
sequently, when digging the cellar for the building 
afterwards erected upon the site. 

One would naturally suppose that the person who 
had taken such an active part in establishing the grave- 
yard would have selected the spot for his own resting- 
place; but such was not the ease with Mr. Mumford. 
His body was buried in the old part of the Copp's Hill 
Burying-Ground, and a headstone bearing the following 
inscription placed at his grave : 


NOYr Y* ai* 1718. 

Mr. Mumford, it appears, lived less than a year and 
a half after he conveyed the property to the trustees of 
the Society. He was a man of considerable enterprise, 
and was largely concerned in real estate transactions 
both in and out of town. 

After the estate was sold in 1828, a large stone build- 
ing was erected upon it, which in later years, untU 1860, 
was occupied by the printing and editorial establishment 
of the Boston Evening Transcript, and is now improved 
as an extensive printing office by Messrs. J. E. Farwell 

Soon after the sale of the Quaker lot in Congress 
street, the yearly meeting of Friends for K'ew England 
purchased another estate in Milton place, bounded about 
sixty feet easterly on the place, about thirty-nine in the 
rear, and a little over eighty in depth. Upon this 
the Friends erected a substantial brick building with 


a stone front, measuring about thirty-nine by eeventy- 
five feet, where they occasionally held meetings, but it 
being of very little use to the Society, it was sold at 
auction, and on the thirtieth of May, 1866, the Quakers 
ceased to be owners of a meeting-house in Boston. 

The early members of the Society of Friends were 
many of them remarkable men. Mr. Mumford, as has 
already been said, was largely interested as a builder in 
the town, and he was the prime mover in the settlement 
of the town of Sutton in this State. Mr. Edward Ship- 
pen was a merchant of note, who removed early to I^ew- 
port, Rhode Island, and then to Philadelphia, where, 
under the city charter of 1701, he was the first mayor, 
having held important positions in the State Legisla- 
ture. Mr. Edward Wanton was an enterprising ship- 
builder of Boston, and subsequently of Scituate, and the 
father of Governor WUliam Wanton, of Rhode Island. 
Walter Clark was also Governor of Rhode Island, and 
one of the Council of the !N^ew England Colonies under 
Governor Andros, by appointment of James II. What- 
ever may be the traditionary and even recorded history 
of the early Quakers, it should not be forgotten that 
they then, as now, had among their number persons 
of the greatest excellence as well as of the greatest 



Crowded State of Middle District Burial-Ground in 1740 • • • Committee to 
locate another Graveyard, in 1748 • • • Report in Favor of Southeast 
Corner of the Common rejected ■ • . Locations elected in 1754 for the South 
Burying-Ground, now called the Central Burying-Ground • ■ • Other Names 
of the Graveyard ■ • • Dimensions of the Lot • . ■ The Foster Lot at the Cor- 
ner . . . Establishment of the Burial-Ground • ■ • Date of Tombs • • • Orna- 
mental Trees set out in 1830 and 1840 • • • Fence erected in 1839 ■ • ■ Mysteri- 
ous Gravestone • • • Place for the Burial of Strangers • • • Mystic Emblems • • • 
Oldest Gravestone ■ . • Monuments • • • Supposed Goblins ■ • • Inscriptions • • • 
Mons. Julien • • ■ Verses. 

In consequence of the crowded state of the grounds 
belonging to the King's Chapel and Granary Burying- 
Grounds, great complaints were made by the under- 
takers, and petitions were occasionally presented to the 
Selectmen of the town asking for relief, the object being 
the laying out a new yard nearer to the South End. 
The petition of John Chambers and other gravediggers, 
in 1740, alluded to in a preceding chapter, had consider- 
able eflFect, and set the town officials looking about for 
the proper place for a new cemetery, although the object 
was not finally accomplished untU sixteen years later. 

On the twenty-eighth of March, 1748, a committee, 
appointed on the sixteenth of the same month, reported 
to the town that they had " considered of the premises, 
and were of opinion that a piece of ground at the lower 
end of the Common, adjoining to the pasture belonging 


to Hon. James Allen, Esq., is a place the most con- 
venient for a burying ground." This report elicited 
much debate, and it was finally recommitted to the gen- 
tlemen who had presented it, with a desire that a plan 
be taken of the land proposed by them for the burial-place 
and that they consider whether it will not be best and 
most convenient that a highway should be laid out 
between said land of Mr. Allen and the Common, and 
they were directed to report again at the next general 
town meeting. On the ninth of May following, the com- 
mittee reported agreeably to instructions, presenting a 
plan of a lot near the southeast corner of the Common, 
containing about an acre and a half, and bounded east 
by the Tremont street mall, and about three hundred 
and twenty-four feet north of the present Boylston 
street, the intervening lot of land belonging to the heirs 
of Col. Thomas Fitch ; and they recommended laying out 
a twenty foot highway on the south. The proposed lot 
was part of the Common, and was not taken for the 
graveyard, probably because the townsmen did not wish 
to abridge their "area of freedom"; and consequently 
the matter was deferred, and the old burial-grounds 
were crowded a little more during the next eight years. 
On the fifteenth of May, 1754, a more earnest and 
direct petition for a burial-place at the South End was 
presented in town meeting, and referred to a committee 
consisting of Thomas Hancock and Thomas Greene, 
Esqs., and Messrs. Jacob Parker and John Hill and 
John Phillips, Esq., all prominent and influential citizens 
of the town. This committee reported on the seven- 
teenth of the next September, recommending the pur- 
chase of Col. Thomas Pitch's pasture at the bottom of 
the Common, the estate then belonging to Andrew 


Oliver, Jr.; and the report, after the usual amount of 
debate, was accepted, and further action deferred untU 
the eleventh of the following October, when it was 
voted to purchase the lot. The portion of Col. Fitch's 
pasture then determined on for the South Burying- 
Ground, as it was called at first, — and which afterwards 
was for many years known as the Common Burying- 
Ground, until it was designated as the Central Burying- 
Ground in 1810, in consequence of the establishment 
of another burial-place at the southerly part of Wash- 
ington street, — is the same that is now fenced in, and 
formerly included the portion of Boylston street mall 
which intervenes between it and the street. The 
land, about two acres in extent, was purchased of 
Andrew Oliver, Jr., and his wife Mary, who was a 
daughter of Col. Fitch (they having been married on 
the twentieth of June, 1728); and the boundaries as 
then given were, by deed dated on the ninth of June, 
1756, " easterly on land sett off to Mrs. Martha Allen, 
there measuring three hundred and twenty feet, 
southerly on FroggLane so called there measuring three 
hundred and twenty-one feet, westerly on the Common 
or Training Field there measuring on a bevelling line 
three hundred and fifty-five feet, and northerly on the 
same Common or Training Field there measuring one 
hundred and eighty-nine feet and. an half to the first 
bounds." These dimensions differ somewhat from those 
of the lot as formerly included within the old brick 

Although this ground was frequently designated as 
the " Common Burying-Ground," it appears that no part 
of it ever belonged to the Common; a remark which is 
equally true in regard to the portion of land lying east 



of it, and now partially occupied as a deer park, the 
same having been purchased on the sixth of October, 
1787, of William Foster, the father-in-law of the late 
Hon. Harrison Gray Otis. Since the name of the street 
on the south was changed from Frog lane to Boylston 
street, about the year 1809, the burial-ground has fre- 
quently been called " the Burying Ground on Boylston 
street," as the names " South " and " Central " were so 
uncertain in their designation, being equally applicable 
to other grounds elsewhere situated. 

At this late date, it is almost impossible to imagine 
what preparation was necessary to be made to render 
the pasture proper for burials, except to enclose it with 
a good substantial fence; but it is certain that some- 
thing was done, as the following record was made of a 
meetmg of the Selectmen held on the twenty-fourth of 
IsTovember, 1756: — "As the Burying Place at the bot- 
tom of the Common, lately purchased by the Town of 
Andrew Oliver, Junr., Bsqr., is now fit to bury the dead 
in, the Selectmen have therefore appointed John Ean- 
stead to have the care of said Burying Place, and to 
bury the dead there." The early burials, qs in the other 
yards, were in graves, there being no evidence of the 
buUding of any tomb there until the year 1793, when 
Mr. John Just Geyer, a stonecutter, was allowed " to 
erect " one, " under the direction of Mr. Seaver." From 
this time until 1800, a few were built each year; but in 
the years 1801, 1802 and 1803 a large number were 
built, chiefly by Messrs. Nicholas Peirce, Jr., and John 
Peirce, two bricklayers living at the south part of the 
town. About this last year the old brick-fence was 
completed, and the burial-ground considered finished; 
but in the year 1839 two rows of tombs on the south 


side were discontinued, and the Boylston street mall 
laid out, and other tombs built on the western side to 
compensate for those which were permanently closed. 

In the year 1830 a few liberal persons subscribed a 
small sum of money, which was expended in purchasing 
and setting out ornamental trees in this graveyard; and 
in 1840 a large number of trees and shrubs were set out, 
which gave a very handsome appearance to. the premises. 

How early interments were made in the yard cannot 
be exactly ascertained. A small stone, bearing date at 
least seven years before the establishment of the ceme- 
tery, may now be seen standing within the enclosure, 
with the name of the infant it was intended to be a 
memorial of entirely obliterated. The inscription is as 
follows: — 

SON TO Cap. Will." 
. & Maet 
his wife died 
Augt 24th 17*49 
Aged 14 Days 

"Wlio the incomprehensible little child was, and how 
the stone came in its present place, do not appear; nor 
are there any indications by surrounding objects to 
help explain the mystery. 

Tradition says that the British soldiers who died in 
the barracks on the Common were buried in this yard; 
and, although this may have been the fact, there is no 
evidence that such was the case. It is much more 
reasonable to infer that the ground was early used for 
the burial of strangers, and Roman Catholics; for the 
gravestones denote this fact sufficiently well, the graves 
of persons from various foreign countries, even from 


China, and fi'om many of the N'ew England States, being 
designated by conspicuous memorials. The square and 
compasses, emblematic of the mystic art, are more 
frequently found here than in the other burial-groimds 
in Boston 5 and in one marked instance the cross of 
crucifixion is found with the masonic emblems. 

If the child's gravestone is rejected as the oldest, 
the following may be considered as holding that 
position : 

Here lies 
Buried ye Body of Benjamin- 
Feobishee Son of Mr. 
William & Mrs Maet 
Feobishee, who died ye 
4th of Octr, 1761, Aged 
1 Year & 25 Days. 

The child, over whose grave this stone now stands, 
was undoubtedly the son of a noted soap-boiler who 
dwelt on Union street, and was buried within five years 
after the establishment of the burial-ground. 

There are only four memorials which can be called 
monuments ; two of these are the horizontal tablets over 
the tomb of the Wyers and over that of Hon. Thomas 
Davis, at the southeast and southwest corners, both 
having inscriptions, the first in remarkable Latin, and 
the latter in good English; the remaining two are over 
tombs where were buried Sarah, the wife of Dudley 
Atkins Tyng, and Samuel Sprague, a sterling old Bos- 
ton mechanic. These last being upright and con- 
structed of white marble, and, moreover, being situated 
near the path leading across the Common to the corner 
of Pleasant street, have in the dim twilight of bygone 
days been shunned by errant youngsters as goblins of 
times long past; but Mrs. Tyng and old Mr. Sprague 


were very respectable and quiet people, and not being 
night waiters while living have not commenced such 
unprofitable business since their decease, though their 
monuments may appear in motion to persons passing by 
them at late hours. 

The inscriptions in the Central Burying-Ground are 
in no way remarkable ; yet some of the gravestones have 
verses cut in them which are somewhat characteristic. 
In the northerly part of the yard, an unpretending stone 
marks the resting-place of a humble, but formerly very 
indispensable individual, whose name has not been en- 
tirely forgotten. At the close of the last century, and a 
few years in the present, the most noted restaurateur of 
the town was Monsieur Julien, — he who served the 
public at his house at the corner of Milk and Congress 
streets. The inscription on the stone is as follows : 

In memory of 
Mr. John B. Julien, 
who died June 30th, 1805. 
^t. 52. 
In hope of that immortal hliss, 
To rise & reign where Jesus is, 
His flesh in peaceful slumber lies 
Till the last trump shall sound, arise 1 

There are those who think that this famous man 
lived many years later, undoubtedly because the widow 
carried on the business after his decease, as was adver- 
tised in one of the obituary notices of her husband, and 
perhaps because his famous soup is not yet excluded 
from sumptuous bills of fare on festive occasions. 

A more extensive effort is that which can be read on 
the gravestone of a young Scituate woman, who died in 
1802, at the age of twenty-one years: 



Beneath this humble Stone, here lies a Youth, 
Whose Soul was Goodness, and whose Heart was Truth 
Crop'd like a Plow'r she wither'd in her Bloom, 
Tho ' flatt'ring Life had promis'd Tears to come ; 
The Tears she liv'd in Virtue's paths she trod, 
■ And now her Spirit soars to meet her God; 
In realms of Bliss, where Joys eternal reign. 
Devoid of Care, an,d uncontroU'd by Pain. 

Perhaps this chapter cannot be better closed than 
with the following post-mortem lecture, which the head- 
stone of Mr. Charles Wyman has been freely giving in 
the same enclosure since the eighth of July, 1785, when 
he died, in the fifty-seventh year of his age: 

Beneath these clods of silent dust, 
I sleep where all ye living must, 
The gayest youth & fairest face 
In time must be in this dark place. 



South Burying-Ground, on Washington street, 1810 •••Its Situation and 
Boundaries • ■ . Near the Old Place of Execution • • • Marsh Tilled up and 
Graded • • • Tombs first built in 1827 • • • Part of Yard cut off in 18G5 • • • Mr. 
Hewes, the Old Superintendent of Burials • • • Cemeteries under the Churches 
— Christ Church Cemetery In Salem street, 1732 ••• Ancient Burial Casket 
with Evergreens • • ■ Inscription on Tomb of Eev. Dr. Cutler, the First Pas- 
tor of Christ Church • • • Burial of Major Pitcairn, Eoyal Marine • • • Trinity 
Church . • • Old and the New Cemeteries • • ■ King's Chapel Cemetery, Old 
and New • • -The Old Building • • • Tombs of Kev. Mr. Myles and Sir Henry 
Frankland ••• Burial of Gov. Shirley in 1771 •• -Inscriptions in the Chapel 
• • • St. Paul's Church Cemetery • • • Park street Church Cemetery • • • Discon- 

Iisr 1810 the necessity for a cemetery at the South End 
of the town existing, the South Burying-Ground on 
"Washington street was opened for burials, which for the 
space of seventeen years were made entirely in graves, 
the lot having been laid out for the purpose by the town 
authorities. This burial-ground is situated between ^ S 
Newton street on the northeast, and Concord street on 
the southwest, from both of which it is separated by ( 

dwelling-houses 5 and between "Washington street on the | 
northwest, and James street on the southeast. Its 
northerly part has recently been encroached upon by the [ 
St. James Hotel, an elegant edifice, erected in 1867-8. \ 
It is very neatly laid out into four squares, which are 
ornamented with trees, and the whole is surrounded with 
durable walls, that on Washington street being of ham- 


mered granite. In its earlier years it was the scene of 
many of the capital executions; for near its most east- 
erly part, which formerly extended to tide-water, usually 
stood the gallows, and the culprits were generally buried 
in deep graves within the cemetery near the place of 
their execution. Soon after the building of the Leverett 
street jail, hangings were performed more privately, and 
the gallows on the neck discontinued. In stUl earlier 
times the gallows stood further north, near the present 
position of Maiden street; and, in the well remembered 
execution of Samuel Tulley for piracy, it stood at South 
Boston, and for Henry Phillips, the murderer of Den- 
negri, at the Roebuck Tavern. 

As late as the year 1837, there was very little come- 
liness to the South Burying-Ground. A large portion 
of it was marshy, and consequently wet; and until a 
large quantity of proper soil was carted upon it, as was 
done that year, and the surface graded, the place was 
hardly fit for the purposes of sepulture, although, even 
then, the front part of it was nearly filled. 

In 1827, tombs were first built at the sides of the 
yard; and from year to year, as purchasers were found, 
others were erected in a substantial manner, until the 
number amounted to one hundred and sixty-two, and 
the dimensions of the yard were fixed at three hundred 
and five by three hundred and fourteen feet; which 
proportion the yard continued to hold until the year 
1866, when it was curtailed of its size, the tombs on 
the northerly side having been discontinued and a 
strip of land ceded to the abutter on that side for yard 
room and another portion for the hotel. 

The gravestones in this yard are not numerous, and 
strictly speaking there are no monumental inscriptions 


within it, although there are several granite structures 
standing upon vaults in the central part of several of 
the squares, and at their corners. 

One person should not be forgotten in connection i 
with this cemetery — Mr. Samuel Hill Hewes, the first 
Superintendent of Burials, elected on the estabhshment 
of the office in 1822, and continued in office until his 
decease in 1845, he having served the town in the same ^, 
capacity since 1818, at which time he succeeded Daniel 
Oliver. Mr. Hewes, from his first entrance upon office, ' 
took a particular interest in this yard; and it is mainly 
owing to him that it has attained its present symmetri- , 
cal and neat appearance. The great passion this gentle- 
man possessed for having everything appear regular 
induced him to lay out walks in all the old graveyards, 
and to arrange the gravestones in rows, representing 
companies of winged cherubim in martial array. Mr. 
Hewes died on the ninth of April, 1845, in the eighty- \ 
fifth year of his age, and was interred in an angle of ' 
the southwesterly square of his favorite resort during • 
the last years of his useful life. ' 

Besides the burial-grounds already described, there 
are, or have been, on the peninsula five cemeteries, dis- 
tinctly so-called to distinguish them as being built 
beneath church edifices. Of these, the Christ Church , ^ [/^ 
Cemetery, under Christ Church in Salem street, is very 
ancient and contains thirty-three tombs. The Church 
was built by Episcopalians in 1723, the corner-stone 
being laid on the fifteenth of April and the first pubhc 
worship held in it on the twenty-ninth of December of 
the same year. Interments were made under the church 
soon after its erection, and a tomb had been built before 
the twenty-third of October, 1732, when permission was 


granted to T. Carrington to build a tomb adjoining to 
the one already built there; but measures were not taken 
for the establishment of a cemetery until the thirtieth of 
the last-named month, when it was determined that the 
vault beneath the church should be laid out for the pur- 
pose. One of these was appropriated very early by a 
Mr. "Wheate, who devoted it to the good purpose of 
burying his deceased friends, one of whom, the wife of 
Honorable John Wheelwright, was deposited there in 
the year 1740, the earliest date now to be found in the 
cemetery. About fifty years ago a body was exhiuned 
in the northeast corner of the cemetery, curiously pre- 
served by embalming, and with it were found evergreens. 
This body had then laid there eighty or more years; and 
was originally encased in two caskets, each covered with 
coarse linen cloth impregnated with a protective gum. 
Mr. Thomas, whose remains were thus discovered, had 
died in Bermuda, and been brought back to Boston for 
burial. Although care seems to have been taken to 
preserve the tablet which covered this grave, no evidence 
of it can now be traced within the cemetery. On the 
easterly side is a tomb formerly belonging to Capt. 
Thomas Potts, in which was buried the first rector of 
the church, and upon a small slab may now be read the 
following inscription: 

Here Lyes entombed the Body of tlie Eevd. 
TIMOTHY CUTLEE, D. D. first Minister of this 
Church, deceased Augst 17th, 1765, Aged 81 Tears. 
Also the Body of Mrs. ELISAth CUTLEE, widow 
of the above, died Sept the 12th, 1771, Aged 81 Tears. 

With the exception of the thirty-three tombs and 
the heating apparatus of the church, nothing is to be 


seen within this enclosure made sacred by the burial of 
many of the worthy old residents of the Korth End. 
It is related, however, in the traditions of the old peo- 
ple who have dwelt in the neighborhood of this ceme- 
tery, that Major Pitcairn of the British Marines, who 
led the troops to Concord and was repulsed, and who 
afterwards feU mortally wounded in the Battle of 
Bunker Hill, was taken after the last-named battle to a 
house in Prince street, where the gasometer now stands, 
and after death was temporarily deposited under Christ 
Church, and afterwards carried to England for burial. 
Be this as it may, it is certain that during the siege of 
Boston, in the war of the revolution, the cemetery was 
frequently used for the burial of British officers. "T^ 

The old wooden building of Trinity Church, which 
formerly stood at the corner of Summer and Hawley 
streets (the former anciently known as " the street lead- 
ing to the fort," and the latter as "Bishop's Alley"), and 
the corner-stone of which was laid on the fifteenth 
of April, 1734, by Eev. Commissary Roger Price, the 
rector of King's Chapel, and the building consecrated 
on the fifteenth of August, 1735, contained twenty- ! 
five tombs in its cellar. The corner-stone of the new 
building was laid on the fifteenth of September, 1828, 
by Rev. J. S. J. Gardiner, D. D., the Rector, and the 
church was consecratied on the eleventh of Novem- 
ber, 1829. !N"ew tombs were bnilt beneath the new 
church, and the remains formerly deposited were re- 
tained in Trinity Church Cemetery, as the new place for 
burials is called, and in which are fifty-five tombs, one 
of them generally known as the Stranger's Yault. 
Like most church cemeteries, there is nothing specially 
to interest a visitor to this; for little else can be seen or 


learned except the names of the owners of the different 
vaults, — the names of the deceased, who have heen de- 
posited there having been, it would seem, designedly, 
and surely most effectually kept out of sight, and only 
to be Imown on examination of the City Registrar's 
carefully preserved records, or the plates within or upon 
the mouldering coffins securely guarded by strongly 
locked doors. 

Some time about the year 1688, the first Episcopal 
church was built in Boston; the exact time is not known 
when the building was commenced, nor when it was 
completed, nor by what authority a portion of the Old 
Burying-Ground was taken for its site, other than thfe 
usual authority made use of by the tyrannical usurper, 
Andros — namely, that " might made right." Why 
Andros did not take for this purpose the land on the 
opposite side of Tremont street, which he much coveted, 
is equally a problem of uncertainty, without it was be- 
cause he preferred to contend with the dead rather than 
with the living, and so invaded the tenements of the 
former. Sure it is that, about the time the tyrant was 
sent back to England, a wooden building was erected at 
the corner on Tremont and School streets, which was 
designated as the King's Chapel, and was supplied with 
a small number of parishioners several years before pews 
were built for their accommodation. This old building, 
which was much enlarged about the year 1710, almost 
equivalent to a re-building, had a square tower, sur- 
rounded by a four-sided pyramid, upon the top of which 
was a tall staff, half way up on which was a wooden 
crown, and on the top was a weather-cock. This 
answered the society about sixty years, when, in conse- 
quence of the decayed condition of the old building, and 


more particularly as a considerable part of the roof had . 
been carried away by a violent storm, an effort was 
made for the erection of a new building of stone, which 
proving successful, the wooden church was taken down 
in 1748, and the new one commenced. Under the old 
wooden building were several tombs, the first mention 
of which is recorded on the sixth of December, 1717, 
when it was voted that "Mr. Mills " and "Mr. Franklin" 
have liberty to bmld a tomb under the east end of the 
church. This vote really meant to give accommodation 
to Rev. Samuel Myles, the Rector, who died in March, 
1727-28, and to Sir Henry Frankland, quite a noted and 
wealthy townsman, whose princely house stood beside 
that in which Governor Hutchinson dwelt in Garden 
Court street, sometimes anciently known as Frizzell's 
lane, because an opulent merchant named John Frizzell 
once lived at the Fleet street corner. How many tombs 
were under the old church is not known; but it is 
certain that many of the noted Episcopalians of the day 
buried their dead there, among whom were the wife and 
daughter of Governor WUliam Shirley. When the old 
wooden church was taken down in 1748, after much 
'bickering with the Selectmen of the town, the wardens 
of King's Chapel were allowed to extend their territory 
north and east, the bodies to be removed from the land 
taken for the church, and carefully buried in some part 
of the Old Burying-Ground. One Selectman and a 
very few influential persons made trouble with the 
church, and compelled the wardens to purchase land 
on both sides of School street, partly a portion of the 
yard before the new City Hall, and partly where the 
old brick Latin School House stood, at the corner of 
Chapman Place (then, as it ought now to be, named 



for Dr. Elislia Cooke, the inflexible ISTew England 
patriot in the days of Andros and the royal gover- 
nors). The east part of the present King's Chapel 
stands on land on which stood the old school-house 
of Master Philemon Pormort, the first known master of 
the first free school in Boston, in 1635. When the 
stone building, now known as King's Chapel, was 
erected, the comer-stone being laid by Governor Shir- 
ley on the eleventh of August, 1749 (but not until 
the school-house had been built), twenty tombs were 
placed in the basement, and a large vault, called the 
Stranger's Tomb, under the tower. These have been 
owned and occupied by some of the most noted of 
the inhabitants of the town, and are still used as de- 
posits for the dead. Governor William Shirley, who 
died in Roxbury on the twenty-fourth of March, 1771, 
was buried in tomb numbered 18, Eev. Mather Byles, 
of Christ Church, performing the funeral services. The 
tablets containing inscriptions appertaining to this cem- 
etery are placed upon the walls of the chapel, and are to" 
the memory of Mrs. Frances Shirley, Mrs. Frances, wife 
of Mr. William BoUan, Mr. Charles Apthorp, who died 
on the eleventh of l!^ovember, 1758, Mr. Samuel Vassall, 
of London, of ancient memory, Mr. William Price, who 
died on the nineteenth of May, 1772, aged eighty-seven 
years, and some of the late pastors of the church. 

Beneath St. Paul's Church is a cemetery containing 
sixty-four tombs, which were built soon after the erec- 
tion of the building, the corner-stone of which was laid 
on the fourth of September, 1819, and the building con- 
secrated on the thirtieth of June, 1820, by Bishops Gris- 
wold and Brownell. Permission was formally given, on 
the first of September, 1823, for the use of the tombs 


in this cemetery on the usual terms, a special condition 
having been previously passed that no tomb should be 
appropriated for the interment of strangers or of any 
person in consideration of payment therefor. In 1825 
the remains (such as could be found ia the Minot tomb 
in the Granary Burying-Ground) of Dr. Joseph "Warren, 
the patriot, were removed to the "Warren tomb, and the 
following suitable inscription placed upon the box which 
contained them: — "In this tomb are deposited the 
earthly remains of Major-General Joseph Warren, who 
was killed in the battle of Bunker Hill, on the 17th 
June, 1775." 

These honored relics have since been placed in an 
imperishable urn, and deposited in a vault in Forest 
HUls Cemetery, where, though now in theu' fourth place 
of burial, it is presumed they will remain beside those of 
his distinguished brother, until the last great day. 

In January 1823, the proprietors of Park street 
Meeting-House petitioned the City Council for liberty 
to erect tombs under their building, which was granted, 
and thirty tombs were brought into use. About the 
year 1862, the Society determined to discontinue this 
cemetery, and a lot was purchased at Mount Auburn for 
the future place of deposit of remains that had already 
been buried within these vaults. To this and other 
burying-places the remains were removed during the 
Slimmer of that year, and the stately monument at 
Mount Auburn attests to the good faith and liberality 
of the church in this matter. 



South Boston Cemeteries • • • St. Matthew's Church Cemetery, 1818 . • • St. 
Matthew's Church Sold to the Freemasons, and the Cemetery Discontinued 
• ■ ■ A Burial-Ground Provided for by the Act Annexing Dorchester Point to 
Boston In 1804 . . • Lot Selected in 1817, and Set off by the Supreme Court 
in 1818, and Laid out as the Boston Cemetery ■ • • Tombs Built in 1821, and 
Demolished before 1853 ■ . ■ Hawes Burying-Ground, 1816 • • ■ Union Ceme- 
tery, 1841 • • • St. Augustin Cemetery, for the Burial of Roman Catholics, 
1818 • . . Size and Position of the Lot, and St. Augustin Chapel ■ ■ . Burial of 
Key. Dr. Matignon in 1818 • • . Monument of Rev. Dr. OTlaherty, and other 
Tablets in the Yard •••East Boston Burying-Grounds •. .Interment in 
Graves • • • The Burial-Ground Purchased in 1838, and Established . • ■ The 
Israelitish Burying-Ground, Belonging to the Congregation Ohabei Shalom, 
Established in 1844 • ■ • Old Funeral Customs . • • Introduction of Hearses. 

Having in several preceding chapters given a cursory 
description of the burial-places upon the peninsula, it 
now remains to take a brief notice of those, modern 
though they may be, which are situated at South Boston 
and East Boston. 

South Boston, under the name of Dorchester Point, 
was set off from Dorchester and annexed to Boston on 
the sixth of March, 1804; at which time it comprised a 
few farms, on which there were not many houses, and 
no place for the burial of the dead, the Old Burying- 
Ground in Dorchester, at the corner of Boston avenue 
and Eustis street, generally serving the purpose for the 
few families who made their abode there. 


The first movement for a burial-place at South Bos- 
ton seems to have arisen on the building of St. Matthew's 
Church, which was organized on the twenty-fourth of 
March, 1816, and incorporated on the sixteenth of the 
following June. In 1817, the wardens and vestry com- 
menced building their house of worship on Broadway, 
about a hundred feet northwest of E street, on a lot 
which was subsequently conveyed to them on the fourth 
of jN'ovember, 1818, by Abraham Gould, a large real 
estate owner of that part of the town, the church having 
been consecrated by Bishop Griswold on the twenty- 
fourth of the preceding June. The size of the lot of 
land, and also the building was subsequently increased. 
"When the church was erected, tombs were built in its 
cellar; and an application was made to the Board of 
Health for permission to use and occupy them for burial 
purposes. A committee of the Board reported on the 
eighteenth of June, 1818, "that they had attended to 
the duty assigned them, by viewing' the situation, , and 
examining the tombs referred to, and taking into consid- 
eration the remote situation of the chapel from the body 
of the town, the faithful and secure manner in which the 
tombs are built" recommended that the request be 
granted; and the following order was passed: 

" Ordered, That the tombs now built under St. 
Matthew's Chapel at South Boston be, and they are 
hereby, appointed, located, established as a place where 
the dead may be buried in the town of Boston; and all 
persons are hereby required to take notice and govern 
themselves accordingly." 

This burial-place took the name of St. Matthew's 
Church Cemetery, and has been very much used. The 
church building was recently sold to the freemasons of 


South Boston, and the use of the sixty tombs has been 
discontinued, although a few of the owners held out for 
a considerable time against having the deposits in then- 
tombs removed; this prevented the freemasons putting 
the land to the use for which it was last purchased, and 
they subsequently sold it to persons who have erected 
upon it substantial buildings. 

The legislative act of 1804, which annexed to Boston 
that portion of Dorchester now known as South Boston, 
provided that the proprietor of the tract should " assign 
and set apart three lots of land on the same for pubUc 
use, viz., one lot for the purpose of a public market 
place, one lot for a school house, and one lot for a burial 
ground, to the satisfaction and acceptance of the select- 
men of the town of Boston "; or in case the said Select- 
men and proprietors should not agree upon the said lots, 
it should be lawful for the Supreme Judicial Court, at 
any session thereof in the County of Suffolk, upon appli- 
cation of the said Selectmen, to nominate and appoint 
three disinterested freeholders of Boston "to assign and 
set off the three lots aforesaid by metes and boimds " ; 
and the lots of land by them assigned and set off as 
aforesaid should thenceforth " vest in the said town of 
Boston forever without any compensation to be made 
therefor by the town." Provision was also made that if 
compensation for the land should be demanded, that the 
lots should be appraised and the Valuation assessed upon 
all the proprietors. 

The first-mentioned lot for the market house was 
deeded to the town in 1819 by Mr. John Hawes, the 
person who has been so noble and generous in his gifts 
for the improvement of South Boston; but there being 
no immediate need for the market house, the donor gave 


permission that the land should be used for the erection 
of a school-house until a public market should be 
required. 'No lot has as yet been demanded by the 
city for school purposes under the act of March 1804, 
although several buildings have been erected for school- 
houses on land specially bought for the same. 

In 1817, the Selectmen of Boston selected a lot for 
the cemetery contemplated in the legislative act, but 
W'cre not able to agree with the proprietors of the land 
respecting its assignment for the purposes of a burial- 
ground; consequently resort was had to the Supreme 
Judicial Court, and a petition was presented at the 'No- 
vember term of 1817 for the appointment of three com- 
missioners; and Ebenezer Gay of Hingham, Thomas 
Greenleaf of Quincy, and Isaac S. Gardner of Brook- 
line, were appointed by the Court, who after a hearing, 
■ had on the twenty-third of !N"ovember of the same year, 
set off a portion of land containing about 85,400 feet, 
situated on Dorchester street and next to the division 
line between South Boston and Dorchester, which action 
was approved by the court. The lot was bounded south 
on Dorchester street three hundred feet, west on Dor- 
chester boundary hue two hundred and sixty feet, north 
on F street, and including a part of it, two hundred and 
sixty feet, and east on Seventh street. Upon this the 
Board of Health commenced the building of tombs; and 
in January and March 1824, the proprietors released 
their rights in the land to the city, "to have and to hold 
the same to the said city as and for a burying ground in 
pursuance of the provisions of said act" of 1804. 

During the latter part of the year 1821, in conse- 
quence of an order passed by the Board of Health on 
the twenty-fourth of July, fifteen tombs were built in 


the cemetery by Mr. Thomas Austin, and the lot was 
properly fenced in. The committee who had charge of 
the work closed a report, submitted on the thirteenth of 
January, 1821, in the following words: — "The com- 
mittee, therefore, have the satisfaction to state, that, 
although in the execution of the important duties con- 
fided to them by the Board of Health, they have had 
much labor, anxiety, and responsibility, yet they derive 
great consolation from witnessing the public approba- 
tion of the intelligent and provident proceedings of the 
Board of Health in providing for the exigences of the 
town of Boston a repository for the dead, so convenient, 
and exceeding in solemn magnificence and elegance 
anything of the kind in the United States, it is their 
opinion that when the whole of the 'Boston Cemetery' 
shall have been completed agreeably to the plan already 
adopted by the Board of Health, the same will be highly ' 
honorable to the moral feeling of the citizens of the 
metropolis and an ornament to our State and country." 
These tombs were offered for sale on the sixth of June, 
1821, and were advertised as "completed with iron 
doors and locks in a style superior to any in America." 
Four only were sold at that time, three for $152 each, 
and one for $166.34. 

iN^otwithstanding the exalted opinion the committee 
had of the Boston Cemetery, it never became an object 
of much pride to Boston, and was very little used; in- 
somuch, that in 1853, it appears that nearly all of the 
tombs had been demolished, and burials h^d ceased to be 
made in it, on account of the unsuitable condition of the 
soil for graves and tombs. Several attempts have been 
made by individuals to get possession of this lot, bat 
these efibrts proved of no avail; and in 1868 the neces- 


sity of additional school accommodations in Ward XII. 
having become imperative, a new and elegant school- 
house for the Shurtleff School was erected upon this 
conspicuous site, and dedicated on the twenty-third of 
JSTovember, 1869. 

On the twelfth of October, 1816, John Hawes of 
South Boston conveyed to a committee of the inhabi- 
tants of South Boston a small lot of land on the old road 
leading to the point " for the use of a bmying ground 
for the inhabitants." It was bounded northerly one 
hundred and nine feet on the " old road," easterly one 
hundred feet, and southerly one hundred and nine feet 
on land of Abraham Gould, and westerly one hundred 
feet on land of the heirs of Col. Ebenezer Clap; and lies 
between the streets now known as Fourth and Fifth 
streets on the north and south, and between L and M 
streets west and east, and contains about one-quarter of 
an acre and ten square feet. In this small yard there 
are about seven tombs, the yard having been chiefly 
used for interment in graves, which practice was discon- 
tinued, some years since. The use of this graveyard, 
now known as the Hawes Burying-Ground, was not 
sanctioned by the Board of Health until the twelfth of 
March, 1821. 

On the thirtieth of October, 1841, the trustees of the 
Warren Association sold to Adam Bent of South Bos- 
ton a small lot of la"nd south of, and adjoining to, the 
Hawes Burying-Ground; bounded on the north one 
hundred and eleven feet by the Hawes Yard, easterly 
about fifty-five feet by land of the Association, south- 
erly about one hundred and ten feet by Fifth street, and 
westerly forty-three feet by land of Jonathan Phillips. 
In this small yard were originally fifteen tombs and five 



burial lots. The owners of the lot have named it the 
Union Cemetery, and have placed around it a very neat 
iron fence. 

In the year 1818 the Roman Catholics selected a lot 
of land upon Dorchester street for a burial-ground, 
which was purchased in parcels of Zachariah G. Whit- 
man, and Jonathan Mason, by deeds passed on the ninth 
of December, 1818, the twenty-seventh of March, 1819, 
and the fifth of April, 1822* and St. Augustin Cemetery 
was established by an order of the Selectmen : " Ordered, 
That there be assigned and located some suitable place 
at South Boston, under the direction of the Board of 
Health, as a burial ground for that denomination of 
Christians called Koman Catholics of the town of 

This lot has a front of about one hundred and fifteen 
feet southerly upon Dorchester street, and extends back 
SB far as F street; on the east being bounded by Sixth 
street, and on the west by Tudor street. The whole lot 
is enclosed by a high wooden fence, and contains a 
large number of monuments and gravestones, which are 
chiefly of white marble, many of the monuments having 
long epitaphs, and most of the stones somewhat more 
upon them than the ordinary gravestone inscriptions. 
Within the enclosure is a small chapel, containing about 
thirty-eight pews, consecrated by Bishop Fenwick in 
1833, which is now seldom used, and is going rapidly 
to decay. This lot possesses much interest, and is the 
only yard in South Boston in which burials are allowed 
to be made in graves. Here repose the remains of 
Francis Anthony Matignon, D. D., a most estimable 
man, formerly the minister of the Roman Catholics 
in Boston. He died of consumption, at the age of sixty- 


five 3^ears, on the nineteenth of September, 1818, having 
been born in Paris on the tenth of ISTovember, 1753. 
His funeral, which occurred on the twenty-first of Sep- 
tember, was attended with uncommon ceremonies, a 
considerable number of Acolytes with burning tapers 
escorting the large procession through the streets 
from the Church of the Holy Cross in Franklin street 
to the Granary Burying-Ground, where the body was 
temporarily deposited in the tomb of Mr. John Magner, 
from which it was removed to St. Augustin Cemetery 
on the twenty-first of the ensuing April. "Within the 
chapel, at the right of the altar, stands a mural tablet 
bearing the following inscription: 

Here lie the mortal remains of 


and for 26 years Pastor of the Church 

of the Holy Cross in this town: 

Ob. Sept. 19th, 1818, 

^t. 65. 

Beloved of God and men whose memory is in benediction: 

EccFus C. 45., Y. 1. 
The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips. 
He walked with men in peace, and in equity, and turned many away from 
iniquity. For the lips of the priest shall keep knowledge, and they shall 
seek the law at his mouth: because he is the angel of the Lord of hosts. 

Malachi C. 2., V. 6, 7. 
Far from the Sepulchre of his fathers repose the ashes of the good and 
great Doctor Matign on; but his grave is not as among strangers, for it 
was, and will often be watered by the tears of an affectionate flock, and his 
memory is cherished by all who value learning, honour, genius, or love 

The Bishop and congregation in tears have erected this monument of 
their veneration and gratitude. 

In front of the chapel stands the monument of Dr. 
O'Flaherty, and upon the walls are inserted tablets com- 
memorative of three distinguished Catholic priests: 
Rev. James McGuire, a native of the county of Cavan, 


Ireland, died on the fifth of March, 1850, aged thirty- 
five years; Rev. Patrick Byrne, a native of the county 
of Kilkenny, Ireland, ordained on the eighteenth of 
March, 1820, and late pastor of St. Mary's in Charles- 
town, died on the fourth of December, 1814, aged fifty- 
two years; Kev. John Mahoney, a native of the county 
of Kerry, Ireland, who, after a laborious mission of six 
years in the States of Maryland and Virginia, and of 
thirteen years in the diocese of Boston, departed this 
life on the twenty-ninth of December, 1839, aged fiJty- 
eight years. 

Dr. O'Flaherty will long be remembered for the 
great ability he exhibited in the famous religious con- 
troversy which he had many years ago with Rev. Dr. 
Lyman Beecher. His monument is quite imposing. It 
is of white marble, containing on the front panel a 
medallion portrait of the deceased, and upon the left 
panel a Latin inscription which is thus translated into 
English on the right panel : 

Here lies the body of 
who was born in the county 
of Kerry in Ireland. 
A physician of high repute and 
a most worthy priest of 
He always shone as the ornament of the sciences, the faithful interpreter 
of languages, and the intrepid and invincible defender and expounder of 
the sacred dogmas of the Catholic Church. His countrymen and fellow- 
laborers in the vineyard of Jesus Christ have, under the guidance of the 
Eev. James O'Eeilly, his most faithful friend, honorably erected this monu- 
ment to the imperishable memory of a Priest so celebrated and dear to all. 
He died on the 29 day of 
March, 1846, aged 47 years. 
May his soul rest in peace. Amen. 


"Within the enclosure there are a very few tombs, the 
popular mode of burial with the Catholics having been 
in this yard in graves. Over each grave is a large per- 
pendicular marble slab, much larger and more expensive 
than those of any of the other burial-grounds in Boston, 
and upon each of these are the three letters I. H. S., 
and generally the words " requiescat in pace." 

The above-mentioned burial-grounds are all that are 
situated in South Boston, the necessity for others having 
been supplied by the large suburban cemeteries in the 
neighboring towns. 

There are two cemeteries at East Boston, the lots 
for which were bought of the East Boston Company, 
and in both interments are chiefly made in graves. 

On the thirteenth of July, 1838, the Company con- 
veyed Sr tract of land, four hundred and fifty by three 
hundred and fifty feet, between Bennington, Harmony, 
Auburn, and Swift streets, to the city for a burial-ground; 
and on the sixteenth of the same month the same was 
accepted by the Board of Aldermen, and it was ordered 
to be enclosed with a light fence, and that no person be 
allowed to be buried within it nearer than eighteen feet 
from the enclosing fence. This yard is used by the res- 
idents of the ward, and a few interments are made in it 
of persons from the peninsula, on account of the privi- 
lege of burying in graves, which many persons consider 
most proper. In this yard are about twelve tombs. 

The congregation Ohabei Shalom, the Israelitish 
Society of Peace, on the twenty-ninth of April, 1844, 
petitioned the city government for leave to purchase a 
portion of the East Boston Burying-Ground for a cem- 
etery, but were denied; but having bargained for a lot 
of land in the fourth section of the island, they again 


petitioned the Board of Aldermen for leave to use 
the lot so obtained, which was granted on the fifth of 
October of the same year. In the mean time, on the 
twenty-fifth of July, the society purchased the lot at the 
corner of Byron and Homer streets, one hundred feet 
square, and containing a little less than a quarter of an 
acre of land. The burials in this yard are entirely in 
graves, and the neat white gravestones, with Hebrew 
inscriptions, and now and then one partly in English, 
add much to the peculiarity of the cemetery. The lot 
is enclosed with a wooden fence, and in consequence of 
its remote distance from the thickly inhabited portion of 
the island is seldom visited. The order passed by the 
Board of Aldermen establishing this graveyard was in 
the following words : 

" Ordered, That the trustees of the Israelitish con- 
gregation Ohabei Shalom (Friends of Peace) with their 
associates having purchased a lot of land 'No. 250 in 
Section 4 at East Boston, be and they are hereby author- 
ized to lay the same out as a private burying-ground, they 
complying in all respects with the statute laws of the 
State and the ordinances of the City, and the rules and 
regulations of this Board, subject, however, at all times 
to the supervision of the superintendent of burial- 
grounds and the control of this Board." 

Previous to the purchase of this lot the Jewish 
burials were either at JSTewport, R. I., or in South Read- 
ing, a neighboring towu. The original ground laid out 
in 1844, not sufficing for the burials of the sect, which 
has much increased during the last few years, permis- 
sion was given by the Board of Aldermen on the thirti- 
eth of June, 1868, for an increase of the lot, which in 
consequence thereof has been enlarged on the southerly 


side by the addition of another piece of ground exactly 
one hundred feet square. 

With the exception of the tombs belonging to the 
various City Institutions at South Boston and Deer 
Island, and the graveyards at Castle and Rainsford 
Islands, there are no burial-places within the old limits 
of the city other than those described in these chapters, 
if the burial of early executed persons in the common 
and the harbor are made exceptions. 

In the olden time burials were conducted in a very 
different manner from what they now are. "When a 
death occurred in a family, it was generally made known 
very widely; and on the day of the funeral, the relatives 
and friends, far and near, assembled at the house of the 
deceased, and carried the body to the burial-ground, 
unless, as in many of the towns in the Plymouth 
Colony, there were places for burial upon the farms, 
which was not the case, of course, in Boston. As our 
fathers eschewed everything that resembled the church 
customs of their fatherland, no prayers nor particular 
services were had at the house or even at the grave; 
but after the funeral the mourners and their friends 
returned to the house, and there, if we can believe the 
charges in the old administration accounts, there some- 
times must have been pretty high times. Instead of the 
prayers and addresses which are now part of the funeral 
ceremonies at houses, the prayers, and now and then a 
funeral sermon, were reserved for the ensuing Sunday 
forenoon religious services at the meeting-house. The 
first prayer made at a funeral in Boston is said, on good 
authority, to have been offered by Rev. Dr. Chauncy, at 
the interment of Rev. Dr. Jonathan Mayhew, pastor of 
the West Church, who died on the ninth of July, 1766, 


and was buried from the "West Church on account of 
the great concourse who desired to pay respect to his 
memory by being present on the occasion. The as- 
sembly being in a meeting-house, it was deemed proper 
and expedient that a devotional exercise should be had; 
and this incident led to a custom which is now universal. 
The sermon which introduced the present custom of 
funeral sermons over the body was preached by Dr. 
John Clarke in Brattle Street Meeting-House, at the in- 
terment of Kev. Dr. Samuel Cooper, who died on the 
twenty-ninth of December, 1783, and was buried on the 
following Friday; which being the day the usual sacra- 
mental lecture was delivered in Brattle Street Church, 
and the body having been taken into the meeting-house 
on account of the great number of persons who desired 
to attend the funeral. Rev. Dr. Clarke, the junior pastor 
of the first church, who was to have preached the 
lecture, changed it into a funeral service, and thus set an 
example which has been much followed since. The 
sermons which are usually designated as funeral ser- 
mons were generally in early times preached, as before 
said, upon the Sunday after the funeral ; although occa- 
sionally, by accident, the funeral sermon was preached 
at the time of interment, an exception to the general 

There were no hearses in the early days of the town. 
The coffin, which was generally of pine, hemlock, or 
cedar, and sometimes of harder and more costly wood, 
was usually stained black or red, and sometimes covered 
with black cloth; and this was ornamented with capa- 
cious hinges and a plate, all struck up into form from 
sheets of tinned iron, the plate being marked with black 
letters, neatly painted upon a planished surface. This 


was carried by hand upon a bier to the grave, or tomb, 
as the case happened to be, by bearers, who were from 
time to time relieved by others who walked by their 
side; and these were followed by the mourners and 
friends, who walked two by two, man and woman, arm 
and arm, and boy and girl hand and hand together. 
After the funeral the bier was left standing over the 
grave ready for use when occasion should require. 
This custom prevailed till within a period which can be 
well remembered by our oldest people. The bearers 
were generally rewarded with a present of gloves, and 
sometimes scarfs, and the mourners had funeral rings 
of black enamel, edged with gold, bearing as inscription 
the name, age, and date of „death of the deceased. 
Hearses were not introduced into Boston until about the 
year 1796, when, on account of the great, distance of 
the burial-grounds from some parts of the town, their 
use became necessary. Carriages, for the women to 
ride in, were introduced into use not long afterwards, 
although the men continued to walk until the establish- 
ment of the suburban cemeteries. 

Until the purchase of " Sweet Auburn," on the con- 
fines of Cambridge and Watertown, for a rural burial- 
place, very little had been done towards ornamenting 
and beautifying the graveyards in Boston and the 
neighboriag towns ; but since the establishment of 
Mount Auburn Cemetery, much has been done to expel 
from the old graveyards their forbidding appearances. 

In late years, since the abolishment of burials in 
graves within the limits of the peninsula, the greatest 
number of interments have been made in the rural cem- 
eteries, that at Mount Auburn being the oldest of those 
most generally used. On the twenty-third of June, 



1831, the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, an insti- 
tution of high standing and much usefulness, obtained 
an addition to its act of incorporation, conferring powers 
to dedicate and appropriate any part of the real estate 
which it then owned or should afterwards purchase, "as 
and for a Rural Cemetery or Burying Ground, and for 
the erection of Tombs, Cenotaph^, or other Monuments, 
for or in memory of the dead : and for this purpose to lay 
out the same in suitable lots or other subdivisions, for 
family, and other burying places ; and to plant and em- 
bellish the same with shrubbery, flowers, trees, walks, and 
other rural ornaments," etc. The grounds taken for 
this purpose by the society was the land on the border 
of Cambridge and "Watertown, known by the name of 
" Sweet Auburn," evidently derived from Goldsmith's 
delightful poem. Within this tract is an eminence, long 
known as Mount Auburn, whose summit is about one 
hundred and twenty-five feet above the level of Charles 
River, which flows gracefully by its southerly borders. 

The whole lot now contains a little over one hundred 
and twenty-five acres, and was formally consecrated on 
the twenty-fourth of September, 1831. By an act of 
the legislature, approved on the thirty-first of March, 
1835, Joseph Story, John Davis, Jacob Bigelow, Isaac 
Parker, George Bond, Charles P. Curtis, and others, 
were created a corporation, by the name of the Proprie- 
tors of the Cemetery of Moiint Auburn. This and the 
Forest Hills and Mount Hope cemeteries have been 
the places for burial most used for intei'ment by the 
people residing in Boston and its immediate vicinity. 

In the year 1846, the necessity for another large rural 
cemetery similar to that at Mount Auburn becoming 
apparent, efforts were made in the then City of Roxbury, 


which included at that time the present town of West 
Roxbury, for the estabhshment of a new pubhc ceme- 
tery within the limits of that city. Hon. John J. Clarke, 
the first Mayor of Eoxbury, made a commnnication to 
the City Council on the fifth of October of the same 
year, which contained the following suggestion: "At a 
time not very remote it will become necessary to procure 
other places of sepulture for those that shall die in the 
city. Mount Auburn is too distant, and but compara- 
tively few feel able to procure lots there. I would 
therefore invite you to consider the expediency of pur- 
chasing a tract of land, (if one can be procured well 
adapted,) and laying it out in a proper manner, and 
appropriating it to the purposes of a cemetery for the 
use of all the inhabitants of the city, on such terms and 
conditions as shall be thought best; and also to take 
measures to make the existing cemeteries more respect- 
able." The communication was referred to a joint 
special committee of the City Council for consideration. 
On the twenty-ninth of October, a public meeting of the 
citizens of Eoxbury was held in City Hall, and resolu- 
tions were passed urging the purchase of the Seaverns' 
farm, in the west part of Eoxbury. On the ninth of 
November, 1847, on motion of Alderman William B. 
Kingsbury, it was ordered, " that the Joint Standing 
Committee on Burial Grounds be, and they hereby are, 
authorized to purchase of Joel Seaverns, for a Eural 
Cemetery, a tract of land called the Seaverns farm, 
containing fifty-five acres, more or less, at three hundred 
dollars per acre": and at the same meeting an order 
was passed, directing a special committee to apply to the 
General Coiirt for an amendment to the City Charter, 
authorizing the City Council to take the proper steps 


necessary for instittiting the new cemetery. An Act of 
the Legislature of the Commonwealth was approved on 
the twentj'^-fourth of March, 1848, authorizing the City 
Council of Koxbury to elect by joint ballot in convention 
a board of five commissioners for the term of five years, 
on the principle of rotation, to have the sole care, super- 
intendence, and management, of a "Rural Cemetery," 
provided the act should be accepted by the City Council 
within thirty days after its passage. The act was ac- 
cepted on the twenty-seventh of March, and the pur- 
chase of the land was made by deed dated the next day. 
The laying out of the grounds was commenced on the 
twenty-fifth of the ensuing April; on the twenty-sixth 
of June, the cemetery was named "Forest Hills" by 
ordinance, and on the twenty-eighth of the same month 
it was formally dedicated. Since the first purchase, the 
cemetery has been increased in size to about one hun- 
dred and thirty-three acres. On the annexation of Kox- 
bury to Boston, it was deemed best that the Forest Hills 
Cemetery should be placed under a private Board of 
management, elected by the proprietors of the lots ; con- 
sequently an Act of the Legislature was obtained on 
the twelfth of March, 1868, by which Alvah Kittredge, 
George Lewis, William C. Harding, proprietors of lots 
in Forest Hills Cemetery, their associates and succes- 
sors, were made a corporation by the name of " The 
Proprietors of Forest Hills Cemetery," with the neces- 
sary powers and privileges, and subject to the usual 
liabilities and restrictions. The ofl&cers of the corpo- 
ration by the act are seven trustees, and a treasurer 
and secretary; and the corporation were empowered 
by the act to hold real estate in "West Roxbury to the 
extent of three hundred acres, and personal estate to 


an amount not exceeding five hundred thousand dollars. 
The Act of Legislature was accepted by the proprietors 
on the twenty-third of March of the year it was passed. 
In consequence of the above transfer of the manage- 
ment of the cemetery, an order was passed by the City 
Council and approved by the Mayor on the thirty-first 
of March, 1868, authorizing the Mayor to execute, in 
behalf of the city, a conveyance of the lands purchased 
for this cemetery, and the City Treasurer to transfer 
and deliver the property obtained and acquired for said 
cemetery, which the city had acquired by the union of 
the two cities, to the proprietors of the cemetery; and 
the Mayor, on the day of the aforesaid approval, exe- 
cuted the deed, in accordance with the order. 

Partially within the limits of Dorchester, near Hyde 
Park, and partly in West Koxbury is situated Mount Hope 
Cemetery, another of the rural places of burial estab- 
lished for the convenience of the citizens of Boston and 
of the neighboring cities and towns. This cemetery 
was originally laid out for burial purposes by a company 
of gentlemen who obtained an act of incorporation on 
the tenth of November, 1851. The grounds contain 
one hundred and four and three-fourths acres, and were 
consecrated for their present use on the twenty-fourth 
of June, 1852, by appropriate services. On the thirty- 
first of July, 1857, the cemetery was conveyed to the 
city for the sum of thirty-five thousand dollars; since 
which it has been under the management of a Board of 
five trustees, the City Eegistrar serving as secretary. 
A superintendent resides near the cemetery. 



The Three Cemeteries of the Highlands ■ ■ • The Old Burying-Ground, or Eliot 
Burying-Ground • • • The Ancient Cemetery of Roxbury, and Depository of 
the Remains of the First Settlers ■ • • The Dudley Tomb • ■ - Thomas, Joseph 
and Paul Dudley ■ ■ • Dudley Epitaphs and Anagrams • • ■ The Parting Stone 
on Eliot Square, 1744 ■ • • The Eliot or Ministers' Tomb ■ ■ • Ministerial In- 
scriptions . • ■ Oldest Gravestone ■ ■ • Samuel Danforth's Grave • • • Gravestone 
of Rev. Shearjashub Bourn ■ • • Curious Inscription on Gravestone of Ben- 
jamin Thomson • • • The Father of the Patriot Warren • ■ ■ The Warren 
Cemetery, Formerly the Property of the First Parish • • ■ St. Joseph's 
Cemetery, near Circuit Street. 

The Boston Highlands, formerly the city of Roxbury, 
before annexation to Boston, contained three burial 
places : — the Old Cemetery at the corner of Washing- 
ton and Eustis streets ; the Warren Cemetery, near War- 
ren street and Kearsarge avenue, established by the 
Society of the First Parish; and St. Joseph's Cemetery 
on Circuit street. 

The first of these, known to antiquarians as the 
Eliot Burying-Grround, because the remains of the 
Eev. John Eliot were deposited within its bounds, is 
indeed an antiquated cemetery, and is situated at the 
corner of Washington and Eustis streets, about two 
miles in a southerly direction from State street,, a 
short distance south of the old Boston and Roxbury 
line, making the northeasterly corner of the junction 
of the roads leading to Dorchester. In this spot the 


people of Eoxbury first selected their place for the burial 
of the dead of their town, and here were laid to rest 
the most notable as well as the most ancient of the 
original inhabitants of that old settlement. One can- 
not pass through this quiet yard without noticing upon 
the memorials there standing the names of persons dis- 
tinguished in the early history of ISTew England — 
although the custom of making interments in tombs has, 
in a great measure, prevented the appearance of many 
of the best known in the annals of the first years of the 
town. Fortunately the position of the resting-places of 
these have been carefully and reverently transmitted 
down to the present generation in the most authentic 
manner, and with the most scrupulous precision. 

Until within a few years, this old graveyard has been 
most unwarrantably neglected; but now, instead of 
being overgrown with noxious weeds and unsightly 
bushes, as formerly, it presents a very diflferent appear- 
ance, as though the taste and skill of the noted floricul- 
turists of the neighborhood had been expended upon 
its once desolate and uninviting walks. The broken 
monuments have been repaired, the fallen stones have 
been uprighted, the weeds have been plucked, and the 
bushes cut down, and a great and favorable change 
has come over the old cemetery; for the enterprising 
citizens have somewhat redeemed the sepulchres of 
their fathers, and some have strewn them with flowers. 

Within this walled ground lie all that was mortal 
of many of the worthiest men among our forefathers. 
Here were deposited the remains of the famous Dud- 
leys, Thomas and Joseph, two ancient governors of Mas- 
sachusetts, the first during the existence of the colonial 
charter, and the second after its dissolution; and Paul 


Dudley, the noted chief justice, so well known for his 
liberally bestowed mile stones. Here, in a tomb, for 
ages almost unknown, lie the ashes of 'New England's 
famous apostle, the revered John Eliot; and here lie 
5nany of the former pastors and teachers of the old 
church of Koxbury. Until quite recently, none of these 
worthies have had inscriptions on monument or tablet, 
though written epitaphs in some instances have been 
preserved. Although Governor Thomas Dudley was 
renowned for his great strictness and integrity, and 
died at the age of nearly seventy-seven years, on the 
thirty-first of July, 1653, it is not to be supposed that 
any one had the temerity to place upon his sepulchral 
tablet (which has been taken from out of the monu- 
mental^ slab) the following traditionary epitaph: 

"Here lies Tom Dud, 
That sturdy old stud, 
A bargain's a bargain 
And must be made good," 

It would be much more reasonable to believe that 
the following anagram and verses, sent to him a few 
years before his decease by some nameless author, might 
have been deemed worthy of such a purpose : 

Alil old must dye. 
A death's head on your hand you neede not weare, 
A dying head you on your shoulders beare. 
You neede not one to mind you, you must dye, 
You in your name may spell mortalitye. 
Yoiinge men may dye, but old men, these dye must, 
'T*ill not be long before you turne to dust. 
Before you turne to dustl ah! musti old! dye! 
What shall younge doe, when old in dust doe lye? 
When old in dust lye, what N. England doe? 
When old in dust doe lye, it's best dye too." 


What old Governor Dudley thought of the officious 
oflfering thus made to him, it would be very difficult in 
these far distant days to imagine; but it certaiuly must 
have set him to thinking, and undoubtedly diverted his 
mind to the thoughts of putting his house in order. 
iN'otwithstanding the fashionable custom of maMng ana- 
grams of the names of distinguished people, which pre- 
vailed at the time he lived, it cannot be presumed that 
he adopted the above lines for his epitaph; for the 
following lines of his own composing were found in his 
pocket after death, and may be considered more appro- 
priate for elegiac purposes, if any of his descendants 
should see fit to renew the memorial stone over the spot 
where his remains were first deposited: 

" Dim eyes, deaf ears, cold stomach, shew 

My dissolution is in view. 

Eleven times seven near liv'd have I, 

And now God calls, I willing die. 

My shuttle's shot, my race is run, 

My sun is set, my day is done. 

My span is measur'd, tale is told, 

My flower is faded, and grown old. 

My dream is vanished, shadow's fled, 

My soul with Christ, my body dead. 

Farewell dear wife, children and friends. 

Hate heresie, make blessed ends. 

Bear poverty, live with good men ; 

So shall we live with joy agen. 

Let men of God in courts and churches watch 

O'er such as do a toleration hatch. 

Lest that ill egg bring forth a cockatrice. 

To poison all with heresie and vice. 

If men be left, and oth3rwise combine, 

My Epitaph's, ' I dy'd no Libertine.' " 

Another epitaph written in Latin, probably by Eev. 
Ezekiel Kogers, the first minister of Kowley, in twelve 



lines, is preserved, but "will probably never be cut in 

The second Governor Dudley, Joseph, the son of 
his father's old age, died, on the second of April, 1720, 
also in Eoxbury, where he passed the last remaining 
eighteen years a very eventful life. Perhaps his best ep- 
itaph could be extracted from his last will and testament: 

" I bequeath my Soul into the hands of Almighty God, thro' Jesus 
Christ my Lord, in whom I trust for eternal Life, and my Body to be 
decently buried with my Father." 

Paul Dudley, son of Governor Joseph, was chief 
justice of the Province of Massachusetts, and died on 
the twenty-first of January, 1750-51. He was buried 
in the tomb of his fathers; but his epitaphs are only to 
be read on the numerous rcdle stones that skirt the roads 
in ^Norfolk County. One of these, erected in 1744, may 
be seen near the !N"orfolk House, at the comer of Centre 
and "Washington streets on EUot square, beariug the 
following inscriptions on three sides of an upright 










This old Parting Stone has undoubtedly pointed the 
way to what was once considered the termination of 
civilization, and has given rest to the wearied limbs of 
many a foot traveller of the old«n time, who has, whUe 
sitting upon the rough ashlar, blessed the memory of 
good, as well as just, Paul Dudley. 

The tomb of this family is the first that meets the 
eye on entering the cemetery from Bustis street, and 


may be readily distingxdshed, as recently some one has 
placed upon the monumental slab that covers it an oval 
of white marble, beariag upon it the name Dudley, 

A little further on, to the right and left, is a cluster 
of half a dozen other tablets which cover the tombs of 
some of the magnates of old Roxbury. Among these, 
is " the ministers' tomb," and m it was buried old John 
Eliot the apostle, and the translator of the Bible into 
the Indian tongue. N^o epitaph commemorative of this 
good man can be found cut ia stone by any of his con- 
temporaries; but modern hands have restored the old 
monument, and cut upon its tablet the following: 




Ordained over the First Church Nov. 5, 1632. 
Died May 2a, 1690, Aged LXXXVI. 



Ordained Oct. 19, 1718. Died Jan. 10, 1725. 

Aged XXIX. 


Ordained Oct. 17, 1688. Died Sept 17, 1720. 



Ordained Nov. 7, 1750. Died May 29, 1752. 

Aged XXXII. 


Ordained Sept. 12, 1753. Died Oct. 5, 1775. 

Aged LIV. 


Ordained Oct. 2, 1782. Died Dec. 7, 1833. 

Aged LXXV. 


In renovating this ancient monument, the outside of 
the old structure has been completely covered with a 
mastic coating, and upon one of its sides have been 
placed in prominent letters the words " Parish Tomb." 

The oldest gravestone now to be found in the yard 
is that of Samuel Danforth, the oldest child of Eev. 
Samuel Danforth, the colleague of Eev. John Eliot. 
This boy was born on the seventeenth of January, 
1652-53, and, as the old record informs with great ex- 
actness, " at nine o'clock at night," and was baptized at 
Boston by his grandfather, Eev. John Wilson, two days 
afterwards. The inscription is as follows : 


:DYED: 22 D: 3 M: 1663: 

The gravestones of several other children of Eev. 
Samuel Danforth, who died in infancy, are also to be 
found in the enclosure, and almost all of them are older 
than any original memorials to be found in any of the 
burying-grounds in Boston. 

A few gravestones bear very curious inscriptions. 
That of Eev. Mr. Bourn of Scituate, who died in Eox- 
bury, is as follows: 

" Here lies buried the body of the Eev. Shearjashub Bourn, late Minister 
of the First Parish in Scituate, and son of the Hon. Melatiah Bourn, esq. of 
Sandwich, who died 14 August, 1768, set. 69. 

Cautious himself, he others ne'er deceived, 
Lived as he taught, and as he taught believed." 

Another stone records in a somewhat T-emarkable 
manner the death of an eminent person, who figured in 
Eoxbury a little more than a century and a half ago, as 
a schoolmaster and physician : 


" Sub spe immortali, 5'e 

Herse of Mr. Benjamin Thomson 

learned schoolmaster 

& Physician, & ye 

Uenowned Poet of K. Engl. 

obiit aprilis 13°, anno Dom. 

1714, & setatis suae 72, 

mortuus sed immortalis. 

He that would try 

What is true happiness indeed 

must die." 

In the back part of the yard, and perhaps in too 
humble a position to meet the eye of any but that of an 
antiquary, could once be found the almost forgotten 
gravestone of Joseph Warren, the father of the patriot 
of Bunker Hill fame. This memorial, which has been 
removed from its place witKin a short time, although 
the footstone has been left to mark the grave, states that 
he died on the twenty-third of October, 1745, in the 
sixtieth year of his age. The following account of his 
decease is taken from the Boston [N^ews-Letter: 

KoxBTTET, October 25, 1745.—" On Wednesday last, a sorrowful acci- 
dent happened here. As Mr. Joseph Warren, of this town, was gathering 
apples from a tree, standing upon a ladder at a considerable distance from 
the ground, he fell from thence, broke his neck, and expired in a few 
moments. He was esteemed a man of good understanding, — industrious, 
upright, honest and faithful; a serious, exemplary Christian; a useful 
member of society. He was generally respected amongst us, and his death 
is universally lamented." 

This old yard does not seem to have been much used 
in late years, owing undoubtedly to the large number of 
rural cemeteries in the neighborhood. At a very little 
expense, this place so centrally situated, and upon one 
of the most public highways of Boston, might be made 
one of the ornaments of the city; and if the gate should 
be left unlocked, it would certainly be visited as much as 


other burying-grounds, wMch serve for Sunday evening 
promenade grounds during the summer months. 

The "Warren cemetery was purchased and laid out by 
the religious society worshipping in the meeting-house 
of the First Parish of old Eoxbury on the eighteenth 
of June, 1818, at a time when there were only three re- 
ligious societies in the old town of Eoxbury which then 
included the present town of "West Eoxbury. The 
lot was bought of Samuel Bugbee, of "Wrentham, for 
one thousand dollars. It contains one acre, two quar- 
ters, and one rod, and was described as bounded as fol- 
lows, viz : " beginning at the northwest comer of land 
belonging to the heirs of Doct. John "Warren, deceased, 
running north thirty-three degrees east, one of Gun- 
ter's chains, and four links by the Great Eoad leading 
from Boston to MUton, to the south side of a great rockj 
thence south eighty-four degrees east, six chaias and 
forty-five Hnks to a corner in Samuel "Weld's land; 
thence bounded easterly by said Samuel "Weld's land, 
and partly by land belonging to the heirs of Doct. John 
"Warren, as the wall now stands j bounded southerly, 
westerly, and south westerly, by land belonging to the 
heirs of Doct. John "Warren, deceased, as the stone wall 
now stands, running in an irregular direction to the 
first corner by the road agreeable to a plan taken by 
Mathew "Withington, dated April 21st, 1818." At a 
meeting of the pew proprietors of this society, held on 
the fourth of January, 1841, they voted to ofier to the 
town the new burial-ground, without consideration, 
provided the town would accept the samej which was 
done on the fifteenth of the ensuing March. This cem- 
etery is situated on a rising ground a short distance 
south of Dudley street, and in the centre of a district 


bounded by tbis street on tbe north, Winthrop sti'eet on 
the south, Grenville street on the east, and Warren 
street on tbe west, from which it receives its name, and 
by which it is approached from the west through Kear- 
sarge avenue, which once bore the name of Mount 
Vernon Place, and which is continued to Winthrop 
street on the south. 

Southwest of Circuit street, and southeast of Fen- 
wick street, between Shawmut and Walnut avenues, is 
situated St. Joseph's Cemetery, a large burying-ground 
belonging to the Roman Catholics. At a distance from 
Shawmut avenue, this presents a very prominent appear- 
ance, from the large number of white memorial stones 
which have been erected over -the graves of its silent 
inmates, and on account of the special neatness and 
care with which its monuments have been arranged and 
preserved. This cemetery was laid out in 1847, and 
established by the city council on the seventeenth of 
December, 1849 by the following order: 

" Ordered, That permission be granted to the Eev. 
Patrick O'Beirne, pastor of St. Joseph's Church in Eox- 
bury, to establish a burial ground or cemetery within a 
parcel of land containing about four acres, and situated 
near the westerly end, and on the southerly side of 
Walk Hill street, being a part of the premises described 
in the deed of B. C. Evans to the Kev. Patrick 
O'Beirne, dated May 5, 1849, and recorded in the 
Registry of Deeds for the County of E'orfolk, Book 
136, page 310; Provided the regulations which have or 
may be established in conformity to the provision of 
the ordinance and orders of the city council in relation 
to the burial grounds and interments of tbe dead are 
complied with." 



The Seven Barial-Grounds in the Sixteenth Ward • • • The Old Burylng-Groand, 
1634 • • • Early Capen Gravestone • • • Very Ancient Horizontal Slabs • • • 
Enigmatical Inscriptions, 1644, 1648, and 1659 ■ . • Monument to General 
Humphrey Atherton ■ ■ • Curious Epitaph of William Poole • • • John Foster, 
the Ingenious Mathematician and Scholar • • • Tomb of Rev. Richard 
Mather • • • Elder James Humphrey • • • Lieutenant - Governor William 
Stoughton • • • Elder Hopestill Clap • • • Royall Family Tomb • • • Grave of 
Miriam Wood, the old School Dame ■ • • Deacon James Blake • • ■ Daniel 
Davenport, the Old Sexton • ■ • South Burying-Ground, 1814 • • • Dorchester 
Cemetery, 1848 • • • Roman Catholic Cemetery on Norfolk street, 1850 • • • 
Mount Hope Cemetery and Catholic Burying-Ground • • • Cedar Grove 
Cemetery, 1868. 

DoEOHESTEK, HOW a Constituent part of Boston, bearing, 
numerieallj speaking, the designation as the Sixteenth 
"Ward, has seven burial-places; the Old Burying-Ground 
on Stoughton street: the South Burying-Grround on 
"Washington street, near the Lower Mills ; the Dorches- 
ter Cemetery on N^orfolk street; the Roman Catholic 
Cemetery, also on ]S'orfolk street; Mount Hope Ceme- 
tery, partly in Dorchester, on "Walk Hill street; the Ro- 
man Catholic Cemetery, contiguous to Mount Hope 
Cemetery; and the ]S"ew Cemetery recently laid out on 
Adams street, bearing the name of the Cedar Grove 

During the first few of the earliest years of the town 
of Dorchester, as it is conjectured by antiquaries, the 


place of burial was situated near where the first meeting- 
house was erected, in the vicinity of the corner formed 
by the junction of Pleasant and Cottage streets; but 
this spot could not have been long, nor much in use, for 
in Ifovember 1633, the fathers of the town agreed upon 
having a burying-ground on the corner of the present 
Stoughton street and Boston avenue, and on the third 
of March, 1634, they laid out for the purpose a lot of 
five rods square, the nucleus of the present cemetery, 
which contains about three acres of land. In this inter- 
esting spot were buried the forefathers of Dorchester, 
and here can be seen in good preservation the memo- 
rials which the filial piety of their posterity have placed 
in respect to their virtues and good names. Here can 
be found several gravestones bearing the earliest dates 
of any of the ancient inscriptions in N'ew England; yet 
appearances are such as to give room for reasonable 
doubt as to their being of the extreme antiquity that 
their dates might lead incautious persons to infer. The 
oldest date is 1638; but the inscription is put upon the 
stone in such a manner as to give conclusive evidence 
that the sculptor's work was not performed earlier than 
the year 1653, and probably later than 1800. The 
inscription is as follows: 


lies the bodies of 
mb. baenaed capen 
& mes. joan capen his 
wife; he died not. 8 
1638. aged 76 teaes 
& she died mabch 
2 6 16 5 3 


In the neighborhood of this stone, near the corner of 
the two streets, are two very ancient-looking, horizontal 



slabs, which are supposed to have been placed over 
graves earlier than those which bear inscriptions; and 
it is not unreasonable to believe, that the traditionary 
stories about their being placed there to prevent the 
disturbance of the dead by the wild animals, are correct. 
On a small square horizontal slab of dark slatestone 
may be read two poetical enigmas, the subjects of which 
have baffled the skill of the very persevering and ingen- 
ious antiquaries and genealogists of Dorchester. This 
slab does not appear as old as its inscriptions indicate, 
and it may have been placed in the yard as late as the 
year 1659, when a similar inscription was dated, if not 
at a period somewhat subsequent to that. The inscrip- 
tions are: 



The third inscription, its stone not to be found, has 
been preserved by an ancient grave-digger, now resting 
from his labors beneath the turf of the same yard, and 
is as follows: 

Submit submitted down to dust, 
Her soul ascends up to the just; 
At neer ** old she did resign. 
Her soul's gone to Christ, year '69. 

The following inscription, on the large horizontal 
tablet placed over the remains of Major-General Hum- 
phrey Atherton, may without uny doubt be considered as 


old as the date connected with it. General Atherton 
was a man of considerable usefulness in the colony, hav- 
ing held many important offices, and at the time of his 
death was the incumbent of the highest military position 
in Massachusetts. He may be said to have died in the 
service of his country; for on returning home early on 
the morning after the sixteenth of September, 1661, from 
Boston Common, where he had been reviewing the 
troops, he came, in the darkness of the night, in collision 
with a stray cow, and was thrown from his horse and 
kUled. He was buried with great pomp and display as 
is shown in his epitaph, which is carefully cut upon the 
stone under the image of a naked sword, the emblem of 
high military rank. The inscription is in capitals, and 
as follows: 

Heare • lyes • ovr • captaine • and major • of • Svffolk • was • withall 
A ■ goodly • magistrate • vas • he • and • major • generaU 
Two* trovps" of hors' with- hime- here- came- sveh- worth* his* love* did • crave 
Ten • companyes • of" foot ■ also • movrning • marcht ■ to • his • grave 
Let -all • that • read .• he • svre • to ■ keep • the • faith • as • he • hath • don 
With • Christ • he ■ li vs ■ no w crownd • his • name • was • Hvmphrey • Atherton 
He • dyed • the • 16 • of- September • 1661. 

There are many interesting memorials in this yard. 
Those of Rev, Richard Mather and Rev. Josiah Flint, 
the first of whom died on the twenty-second of April, 
1669, agfed seventy-three years, and the latter on the 
fifteenth of September, 1680, aged thirty-five, are of 
the only early clergymen of the town. Of the ancient 
schoolmasters, there may be seen the gravestofle of Mr. 
"WUliam Pole (or Poole, as it should be), a very aged 
man, who died on the twenty-fourth of February, 1674- 
75, aged eighty-one years. This old settler was in 
Dorchester as early as 1630, and subsequently was for 


a while in Taunton, where he was a captain of the train 
band and a representative to the General Court, On 
his return to Dorchester he served in a double capacity, 
as town clerk and schoolmaster. Like many other 
remarkable persons, when his final days approached, 
he wrote his own epitaph, and his posterity had the same 
faithfully cut in capital letters upon his tombstone, as 
follows : 

TE-YEBE 16 7 4. 

Ye - epitaph - of- William - Pole - which - hee - hemself 
made - while - he - was -yet- liuing- in- remembrance-of 
his - own - death - & - left - it - to - be - ingraven - on - Ms 
tomb - yt - so - being - dead - he - might - warn - posterity , 
Ho - passenger - tis - worth - thy - paines - too - stay 
& ~ take ~ a ~ dead - mans — lesson —by— ye — way 
J- was ~ what — now— thou — art ~ & — thou — shalt— be 
What - J - am - now - what - oods - twixt - me - & - thee 
Now - go - thy - way - bvt - stay - take - on - word - more 
Thy-staf-for-ought- thou- kno west-stands -ye - next - dore 
Death - in - ye - dore - yea - dore -of- Heaven - or - Hell 
Be - warned - be - armed - believe - repent - fairewell. 

It is somewhat astonishing that stone-cutters of the 
olden time should not only misspell names, but make 
mistakes in figures ; and yet so they did, as is strongly 
illustrated in the case of Goodman Poole. This care- 
lessness often makes much confusion for antiquaries. 

One of the most learned men in Dorchester was 
young Mr. John Foster, son of Capt. Hopestill Foster. 
This young man was educated at Harvard College, 
where he graduated in the year 1667. He was an 
universal genius ; he was " the ingenious mathematician 
and printer" and schoolmaster. It is said of him that 


he designed the "seal or arms of ye colony," the Indian 
with a bow and arrow, and the famous motto, "Come 
over and help us." He died on the ninth of September, 
1681, aged only thirty-three years, and yet had accom- 
plished much to keep his name in pleasant remembrance. 
"Ars illi sua Census erat — Skill was his cash." 

One of the most noted tombs in the Dorchester 
graveyard, is that of Rev. Richard Mather, father of the 
distinguished Rev. Increase Mather, and grandfather of 
the remarkable Rev. Cotton Mather, and great-grands 
father of the notorious loyalist and wag, Rev. Mather 
Byles. His inscription is upon a horizontal tablet, and 
is as follows: 

D. o. M. Sacee 




Incebtijm: est utetjm Doctioe an Melioe 
ANIMXIM& Gloeia non Queunt Humaei 

Diuinely Rich & Learned Eichard Mather 
Sons like Him Prophets Great Eeioicd this Father 
Short Time His Sleeping Dust heres couerd down 

Not His Ascended Spirit or Einown. 
U. D. M. In Ang. 16. An. In. Dorc: N-A. 34 An. 
Obt. Apr. 22 1669 Mt suae 73 

James Humphrey, one of the Ruling Elders of the 
Church, died on the twelfth of May, 1686, in his seventy- 
eighth year; and a poetic inscription, written in acrostic 
verses, was placed over his tomb, in the year 1731, when 
it was repaired by his grandson, Jonas. It is said of 
Elder " Humfrey," that a short time before his decease, 
he intimated a desire to be buried in the same vault 
with the Rev. Mr. Mather; but circumstances preventing, 
his remains were deposited in a grave near his beloved 


pastor, in the westerly part of the old inclosure. The 
lines, written in the usiial gravestone style, are as fol- 

I nclos'd -within tills Shrine is Precious Dust, 
A nd only waits for th' Eising of the Just. 
M ost useful! he Liv'd adorn'd his station 
E ven to old Age serv'd his Generation: 
S ince his Decease tho't of with Veneration. 

H ow great a Blessing this Kuling Elder he, 

U nto this Chtxech & Town & Pastoks Three? 

M ATHER he first did by him Help receiue, 

F LINT he did next his Burthen much reUeue: 

R enown'd DANPORTH did he Assist with Skill. 

E steem'd High by all: Bear Pruit untill 

T ielding to Death his Glorious Seat did Pill. 

On the seventh of July, 1701, died Lieutenant-Gov- 
ernor William Stoughton, aged seventy years, one of 
the most useful men in the colony. He graduated at 
Harvard College in 1650, prepared himself for the miu- 
istry and preached awhile in England; was a member of 
the Council, Chief Justice of the Superior Court, and 
Lieutenant-Governor of the Province, actiug as Gover- 
nor many years. He is most favorably remembered for 
his benefactions to his Alma Mater, to which he gave 
one thousand pounds. A building that bore his name, 
but has now been superseded by another still retaining 
it, was built at his expense, and property was left by him 
for the support of poor scholars. He lies buried be- 
neath an imposing tablet, which has been restored at the 
expense of the college, and upon which is a very learned 
Latin inscription, said to have been written by Cotton 
Mather, but believed to be a paraphrase of that of the 
renowned Blaise Pasohal. It has been translated into 
English as follows: 




Lieutenant, afterwards Governor, 

Of the Province of Massachusetts 

in New England, 


Chief Judge of the Superior Court 

in the same Province, 

A man of wedlock unknown, 

Devout in Religion, 

Eenowned for Virtue, 

Famous for Erudition, 

Acute in Judgement, 

Equally Illustrious by Kindness and Spirit, 

A Lover of Equity, 

A Defender of the Laws, 

Pounder of Stougbton Hall, 

A most Distinguished Patron of Letters and 

Literary Men, 

A most strenuous Opponent of Impiety and 


Khetoricians delight in Him as Eloquent, 

"Writers are acquainted with Him as Elegant, 

Philosophers seek Him as Wise. 

Doctors know Him as a Theologian, 

The Devout revere Him as Grave, 

All admire Him ; unknown by All 

Yet known to all. 

What need of more. Traveller? Whom have 

we lost — 



I have said sufficient, Tears press, 

I keep silence. 

He lived Seventy Years; 

On the Seventh of July, in the Year of Safety 


He Died. 

Alas I Alas I What Grief I 

The gravestone of Elder Hopestill Clap (son of 
the noted Capt. Eoger Clap, who commanded the Castle 


in Boston Harbor many years under the colonial govern- 
ment, and whose gravestone is now standing in King's 
Chapel Burying-Ground in Boston) may be seen, with 
an inscription written by Eev. John Danforth, his 

SEPTEaiBEB 2d 17 19 

His Dust Waits Till The Jubile 
Shall Then Shine Brighter then y e Skie 
Shall meet & Join (to Part no more) 
His Soul Thats Glorified Before 
Pastors & Churches Happy He 
With Kuling Elders Such As He 
Present TTsefiil Absent Wanted 
Liu'd. Desired Died Lamented. 

The following inscription was placed over the gi'ave 
of an ancient school-mistress, which may be noticed in 
the oldest part of the groimd: 



1 7 6 . 

A Woman well beloved of all 

her neighbours from her care of small 
Folks education their number being great 

that when she dyid she scarsely left her mate 
So Wise Discre[et] was her behaviours 

that she was well esteemed by neighbours 
She liv'd in love with all to dy 

so let her rest [to] Eternaty. 

A very long and excellent inscription may be found 
upon the tomb of the family of Royall, in which were 


buried William Royall, of N^orth Yarmouth, who died 
on the seventh of November, 1724, in the eighty-fifth 
year of his age ; and of Hon. Isaac Eoyall, of Charles- 
town, who died on the seventh of June, 1739, aged six- 
ty-seven years. 

Another epitaph which is somewhat curious is in this 
old yard, so remarkable for its peculiar inscriptions, 
which were frequently made more plain by the hand of 
old Daniel Davenport, the sexton, and " Old Mortality," 
of Dorchester, and which have been preserved by a 
distinguished antiquary, who has made accurate copies 
of all within the cemetery, is : 

Here lyes buried ye body 
of Mr. James Blake 
who departed this life 
Octr. 22d, 1732, Aged 80 
years & 2 months. 
He was a member in full 
communion with ye church 
of Christ in Dorchester 
above 55 years, and a Deacon 
of ye same Church above 35 years. 

Seven years Strong Pain doth end at last, 
His weary Days & Nights are past; 
The Way is Eough, ye End is Peace; 
Short Pain gives place to endless ease. 

Perhaps this description of the Old Burying-Ground 
cannot be better closed than by giving the inscription on 
the stone standing upon the grave of the old sexton. 
This is furnished by Mr. Ebenezer Olapp, an eminent 
antiquary of Dorchester, who saw "Old Mortality" dig- 
ging and preparing his own grave a third of a century 
ago. The old man, after delving in his profession about 
half a century, died at Dorchester at a very advanced 



age; and at his decease was the oldest male inhabitant 
of Dorchester. The following is the inscription, which 
was written by his former pastor, 'Rev. Thaddeus 
Mason Harris, D. D., one of the most remarkable 
antiquaries and conscientious historians of the day, and 
who left two generations behind him to exemplify his 
industry and research: 

This grave was dug and finished 
in the Tear 1833 


when he had been Sexton 

in Dorchester 

twenty seven years, 

had attended 1135 funerals, 

and dug 734 graves. 

As Sexton with my spade I learned 

To delve beneath the sod; 
Where body to the earth returned, 

But spirit to its God. 
Tears twenty seven this toil I bore, 

And midst deaths oft was spared 
Seven hilndred graves and thirty four 1 dug 

Then mine prepared. 
And when at last I too must die 

Some else the bell will toll; 
As here my Mortal relics lie, 

May heaven receive my soul. 

Mr. Davenport lived nearly a generation of years 
after he had thus prepared for his own burial; and dur- 
ing most of this time continued his avocation as sexton. 
He attended probably five hundred more funerals after 
digging his own grave, having his son "William for a 
colleague the latter part of his life. Such were his feel- 
ings for the Old Burying- Ground that he lingered about 
it to the last, and regarded it as his own pleasant home, 


as it had already been that of his worldly emolument. 
The following inscription tells the visitor when this old 
man ceased from his earthly labors, and when he was 
garnered into the field where he had laid to rest so many 
of his old acquaintances and fellow-townsmen: 

He died December 24, 1860, 

aged 87 years, 6 mos, 19 days. 

He buried from March 3, 1806 

to May 12 1852 

one thousand eight hundred & thirty seven 


"William Davenport, son of the old sexton, after he 
had buried twelve hundred and sixty-seven persons, died 
in the fortieth year of his age, and was gathered to his 

The South Burying-Ground, which ranks second in 
age in Dorchester, is situated on Washington street, 
near the Lower Mills, and was established in 1814, the 
first interment being made on the twentieth of May of 
that year. 

Eev. John Codman, D. D., who died on the twenty- 
third of December, 1847, at the age of sixty-five years, 
bequeathed to the Second Parish a lot of land for burial 
purposes on I^Torfolk street. This was consecrated as 
the "Dorchester Cemetery," on the twenty-seventh of 
October, 1848, the day that the remains of this dis- 
tinguished theologian were removed from their original 
place of deposit to the family tomb within the enclosure. 
The first burial in the cemetery was made eight days 

The other burying-ground on IS'orfolk street origi- 
nally contained about ten acres, but has been consid- 
erably enlarged. It was purchased on the twelfth of 


August, 1850, of John Tolman, and has been used for 
the interment of Roman Catholics. 

Mount Hope Cemetery and the Roman Catholic 
Burying-Ground near it have been mentioned in a for- 
mer chapter. 

In the year 1867, a rural cemetery was laid out by 
the town of Dorchester on Adams and Milton streets, 
near the Lower Mills. It is designated as Cedar Grove 
Cemetery, and contains a little more than forty acres 
of land. It is under the control and management of a 
board of five commissioners under the authority of a 
special act of the legislature, approved by the gov- 
ernor on the sixteenth of March, 1868, granting powers 
similar to those under which Forest Hills and Mount 
Hope have become so attractive as burial-places of 
the dead. This cemetery afibrds a very considerable 
variety of surface and material, and presents extensive 
and delightful views of the neighboring country and 
!N^eponset River, which flows by its southerly borders. 
In the process of its improvement a good degree of 
success has been attained in preserving the distinctive 
natural beauties of the place, while turning them to 
useful account in the general purpose for which the 
grounds are designed. The original cost of the land 
was about twenty-five thousand dollars, and since the 
commencement of the enterprise further sums to the 
amount of thirty thousand dollars have been appropri- 
ated for improvements. By the provisions of the act 
above-mentioned, a portion of the grounds was set 
apart as a free public burial-place for the inhabitants 
of Dorchester, the remaining portions to be sold in 
lots, and the proceeds devoted exclusively to the pre- 
servation and embellishment of the cemetery. Pro- 


vision is also made for the application of trust funds 
to special purposes, and for the care of particular lots. 
The grounds are laid out in accordance with designs 
by L. Briggs, Esq., under the direction of William 
Pope, Henry J. Nazro, Nathan Carruth, Henry L. 
Pierce and Albe C. Clark, commissioners. 



Erroneous Idea that the Common Was Given to the Town • • • Bought of William 
Blaxton in 1634 • ■ • Removal of Blaxton to Study Hill, and his Decease in 
1675 • • ■ Rate Raised for Paying for the Peninsula • . ■ Famous Deposition of 
John Odlin and Others in 1684 • • ■ The Deponents • • • Danger of Losing 
the Common • • ■ Common Land Reserved for Future Benefit of the Town 
• . • Establishment of the Common in 1640 ■ ■ • Title to the Whole Peninsula 
Obtained by Charter, by Purchase of the Indians in 1630, and of Mr. Blaxton 
in 1634 ■ • ■ Quitclaim Release of Charles Josias, alias Wampatuck, in 1685 • • • 
Town Orders Concerning the Common, and its Use for Pasturage of Cows 
and Sheep • • ■ Sale of the Common Land Restricted to the Consent of the 
Inhabitants • • • Cow Keeper, and Shepherd Appointed • • • Town Orders 
• Against Abuses of the Common • ■ • The Probable Commencement of Inter- 
nal Health Ai'rangeraents • ■ • The Improvement of the Common Confided to 
the Selectmen ••■ Provision of the City Charter Respecting the Common, 
by which it cannot be Leased nor Sold by the City Council. 

Peehaps there is no part of Boston in which its citi- 
zens feel more pride than in its Common. This tract of 
about forty-five acres has from the early days of the 
town been the free and undisputed property of its inhabi- 
tants. Many persons have supposed that it was given 
to the town, but this is not true; for it was purchased of 
Mr. William Blaxton, he who was seated upon the 
peninsula when the colonists came to Massachusetts, and 
who so generously invited them to his hospitable abode, 
where so bountifully flowed the purest water from his 
living spring. For about four years after the removal 
of the colonists to Boston, they dwelt contentedly with 


their host; and in the year 1634, the reverend gentle- 
man, undoubtedly desiring a greater freedom and less 
interruption from company, or, as it has been said, that 
he might escape the lord-brethren of IS'ew England, as 
he had previously endeavored to avoid the lord-bishops 
of Old England — quitted his peninsula, or "neck," as 
it was anciently called, to the sole enjoyment of his 
guests, and departed to a place near Providence, called 
by him Study Hill, where he spent the remainder of his 
days with his family in quiet, and died on the twenty- 
sixth of May, 1675, just before the breaking out of the 
liTarraganset war. Before leaving Boston, however, . 
he sold all his interest in the peninsula, except in six 
acres, where his house stood, to the colonists, for thirty 
pounds. The money therefor was raised by a rate, as is 
shown by the following entry in the first book of the 
town's records, under date of the tenth of iN'ovember, 
1634: — "Item, y* Edmund Quinsey, Samuel Wilbore, 
"WlH"" Boston [Balston] , Edward Hutchinson the elder, 
"Will"" Cheesbrough, the constable, shall make & as- 
sesse all these rates, viz*, a rate of 30£ to Mr. Black- 
ston," etc. The following deposition, now printed from 
the original document, which is sanctioned by the well 
known autograph signatures of Governor Bradstreet 
and Judge Sewall, was taken in 1684 to perpetuate 
the evidence of the fact, as probably no deed was taken 
from Mr. Blaxton at the time of the release; and cer- 
tainly none was ever recorded in the records of the 
county or colony (those of deeds commencing about 
the year 1640). The earliest entries in the town vol- 
ume, previous to September 1634, have been irrecover- 
ably lost; therefore if such a fact had ever been re- 
corded by the town authorities, all evidence thereof 


has been lost. This interesting document is in the 
following words: 

" The Deposition of John Odlin aged about Eighty- 
two yeares, Robert Walker aged about Seventy Eight 
yeares, Francis Hudson aged about Sixty eight yeares, 
and "William Lytherland aged about Seventy Six yeares. 
These Deponents being ancient dwellers and Inhabitants 
of the Town of Boston in I^ew-England from the time 
of the first planting and setling thereof and contintiing 
so at this day, do jointly testify and depose that in or 
about the yeare of our Lord One thousand Six hundred 
thirty and ffour the then present Inhabitants of s* Town 
of Boston (of whome the Hono"^ John "Winthrop Esq' 
Govemo' of the Colony was cheife) did treate and agree 
with M"' WUliam Blactstone for the purchase of his Es- 
tate and right in any Lands lying within the s* neck of 
Land called Boston, and for s* purchase agreed that 
every householder should pay Six Shillings, which was 
accordingly collected none paying less some considerably 
more then Six Shillings, and the s^ sume collected was 
delivered and paid to M' Blackstone to his full content 
& satisfaction; in consideration whereof bee Sold unto 
the then Inhabitants of s^ Town and their heires and 
assignes for ever his whole right & interest in all and 
every of the Lands lying within s^ neck. Reserving onely 
unto himselfe about Six acres of Land on the point 
commonly called Blackstons point on part whereof his 
then dwelling house stood j after which purchase the 
Town laid out a place for a trayning field; which ever 
since and now is used for that purpose & for the feed- 
ing of Cattell; Robert Walker, & W" Lytherland fur- 
ther Testify that M' Blackstone bought a Stock of 


Cows with the Money he rec^ as above and Removed & 
dwelt near Providence where he liv'd till y" day of his 

" Deposed this lO'" of June 1684. by John Odlin, 
Eobert Walker, Francis Hudson, & "William Lyther- 
land according to their respective Testimonye 

" Before us 

« S. BRADSTREET, Gou'n'. 

"SAM SEWALL, Assist." 

The original document has upon its back the follow- 
ing indorsement: — "John Odlin &c their depositions 
ab' Blackstons Sale of his Land in Boston." 

The foregoing instrument is of great interest, as it 
contains the evidence of the purchase of the peninsula 
of Boston, upon the testimony of four of the most 
ancient men of the town, three of whom lived to a very 
great age, and were among the last survivors of the first 
comers to the town. 

Odlin was a cutler by trade, and died on the eigh- 
teenth of December, 1685, a little over a year after the 
deposition was taken. Hudson was the fisherman who 
gave name to Hudson's Point, and is said to have been 
one of the very first who landed on the peninsula from 
Winthrop's company; he died on the third of N^ovember, 
1700, aged eighty-two years. Walker was a weaver, 
and died on the twenty-ninth of May, 1687, aged eighty- 
one years. Lytherland, being a supporter of Mrs. Ann 
Hutchinson in her peculiar religious dogmas, left the 
town and took up his abode at iJ^Tewport, E. I., where he 
was for many years the town clerk, and where he died 
at an advanced age. 

The deposition of these aged men proves satisfacto- 
rily that the peninsula, and consequently the Common, 



was bought and paid for by the townsmen; and it also 
shows that a portion of the town was set off as a train- 
ing field very soon after the purchase. 

The townsmen, however, by a narrow-minded policy, 
which took a sudden start one public lecture day, came 
very near losing the training field, the loss of which 
would have deprived the ancient cows of many a mouth- 
ful of sweet grass, and the present generation of their 
beautiful Common. It appears that the inhabitants of 
the town met after lecture on the eleventh of December, 
1634, for the purpose of choosing seven men, to divide 
among themselves the town lands, then lately fully ac- 
quired by purchase of Mr. Blaxton; and, in order to 
carry out the affair secretly, they voted by written bal- 
lots. They undoubtedly wanted more acres for raising 
potatoes and cabbages. The residt was, that they left 
out of ofiice several of the chief men who had before 
managed the town's affairs as a Board (which had ex- 
isted since the settlement of the town, and had probably 
been the origin of the Boston Board of Selectmen), Mr. 
"Winthrop only having one or two spare votes, which 
saved his election. Mr. Winthrop would not accept 
ofiice under the cu'cumstance, and after the usual 
amount of talk, and at the solicitation of Rev. Mr. Cot- 
ton, the people agreed to go into another election on the 
next lecture day, which occurred on the eighteenth of 
the same month. The whole transaction is thus graph- 
ically related by Mr. "Winthrop in his journal, under the 
proper date: 

" This daye, after the lecture, the inh"'* of Boston 
mett to choose 7 men who should devide the towne 
lands among them. They chose by pap' & in their 
choice lefte out M"" Coddington, & other of the cheife 


men; only they chose one of the Elders & a Deacon, 
and the rest of the inferior sort, & M'' "Winthrop had 
the greater mimber before one of them by a voice or 2. 
This they did as fearinge that the richer men would give 
the poorer sorte no great pportions of lande, but would 
rather leave a great pte at lib'ty for new comers and for 
coinon, w"^ M' Winthrop had oft psuaded them vnto, as 
best for the towne, &c. M'' Cotton & divers others 
were offended at this choyce, because they declined the 
magistrates: & M' Winthrop refused to be one ypon 
suche an election as was carried by a voice or 2, telling 
them, that thoughe, for his pte, he did not apprehende 
any psonall injurye, nor did doubt of their good 
affection towards him, yet he was muche greived that 
Boston should be the first who should shake off their 
magistrates, espec M' Coddington, who had been all- 
wayes so forwarde for their enlargement; adding fur- 
ther reason of declininge this choyce, to blott out so 
badd a president. Whereupon, at the motion of M" 
Cotton, who showed them, that it was the Lord's order 
amonge the Israelites to have all such business comitted 
to the eldirs, & that it had been neerer the rule to have 
chosen some of cache sorte, &c., they all agreed to go 
toe a newe election, which was referred to the nexte 
lecture daye." 

At the time of adjournment, which occurred on the 
eighteenth of December, 1634, o. s., only four years 
after the settlement of the town, the townsmen passed 
the following at a general meeting called upon public 

notice : 

"Inprymis it is agreed that M' Winthrop, M' Cod- 
dington, M' Bellingham, M^ Cotton, M"^ OUyver, M' 
Colborne, & Will"" Balstone, shall have power to divide 



& dispose of all such lands belonging to y" towue (as 
are not yet in y" lawfull possession of any pticular 
psons) to the inhabitants of y" towne according to y" 
Orders of y^ Court, leaving such portions in Common for 
y" vse of newe Comers, «fc y^ further benefitt of y^ towne, 
as in theire best discretions they shall thinke fitt, — the 
Islands hyred by y" towne to be also included in this 

Again on the thirtieth of March, 1640, the following 
appears on the record: 
j,i' "Also agreed vpon y' henceforth there shalbe no 
1 land granted eyther for houseplott or garden to any 
pson out of y* open ground or Comon ffeild w"'' is left 
betweene y° Centry Hill & M" Colbrons end; except 3 or 
4 lotts to make vp y* streete from bro. Eobte Walkers 
to y" Round Marsh." 

The estate of Mr. William Cclbron was upon the 
street now called Boylston street, but which was an- 
ciently known as Frog lane ; and Mr. Robert Walker's 
lot was upon the same street, but nearer Charles street. 
Mr. Thomas Oliver owned the lot on the corner of Tre- 
mont street (then called the High street), and the lots 
were in the following order from the comer in the pos- 
session of Thomas Oliver, Richard Carter, Jacob Leger, 
William Colbron (sometimes Colborne and Colburn), 
Edward Belcher, William Talmage, Robert Walker, 
William Briscoe, and Cotton Flack; the Round Marsh 
was west of the northerly end of Pleasant street. 

The above quoted votes, for as such they are to be 
regarded, had a special reference to the tract of land 
now called the Common; and it is certain that from the 
adoption of the last mentioned, passed in March 1640, 
to the present time, it has been strictly observed, as far 


as the present limits of the Common are concerned; and 
thus this tract has been kept under the control of the 
townsmen themselves, who have always been so jealous 
of their right to it that they have never surrendered it 
to the caprice of either town or city officers. 

Before this purchase of Mr. Blaxton, the Massachu- 
setts colonists had a good title to the soil through the 
charter of the Governor and Company of the Massachu- 
setts Bay in ISTew England, which passed the seals at 
"Westminster on the fourth of March, 1628-9 j and it is 
made certain by an instrument executed on the nine- 
teenth of March, 1684-5, by the Indian Sachem "Charles 
Josias, alias Wampatuck, son and heir of Josias Wam- 
patuck, sachem of the Indians inhabiting the Massa- 
chusetts ia l^ew England, and grandson of Chickata- 
but, the former sachem," that the peninsula of Boston 
was fairly bought of the Indians. In this instrument 
Josias, the sachem, gives the following as his reasons 
for executing a release of the land to the inhabitants of 

"Forasmuch as I am Informed, and Well Assured 
from Several Antient Indians, as well those of my 
Council as others. That upon the first Coming of the 
English to set down and Settle in these parts of Kew 
England, my above named grandfather, Chickatabut, 
the Chief Sachem, by and with the Advice of his coun- 
cil, for encouragement thereof, upon Divers good causes 
and considerations him thereunto moving, Did give, 
grant, sell, alienate, convey and confirm unto the Eng- 
lish Planters and Settlers, respectively and to their 
Several and respective Heirs and Assigns forever All 
that neck, tract or parcel of Land, scituate lying and 
being within the Mattachusetts Colony, in Order to 


their settling and building a Town there, now known 
by the name of Boston, as it is Invironed and com- 
passed by the Sea, or salt water, on the !N'ortherly, 
Easterly, and Westerly sides, and by the Line of the 
Town of Eoxbury on the Southerly side, with all the 
Rivers, harbours. Bays, Creeks, Coves, flats and ap- 
purt'ces thereunto belonging. As also Several other 
Outlands belonging to the said Town on the south- 
erly and easterly sides of Charles River, and the 
Island called Deer Island lying about two leagues 
Easterly from the said Town of Boston between 
Pudding-point Gut and the broad sound, so called, s* 
Island containing one hundred and sixty or two hun- 
dred Acres of Land, more or less, with the privilidge 
and appurtenances thereunto belonging, which said 
l^eck and Lands have since been Distributed and 
granted out among themselves into particular Alot- 
ments and other Conveniences, and given, AUenated, 
and Transferred to and from one another, having been 
peaceably and quietly possessed, used, Occupied and 
Enjoyed, for the Space of about Fifty and five years 
last past by the said first Grantees, their heirs, Succes- 
sours and Assigns, And now stand quietly and peace- 
ably possessed thereof at this day." 

It thus appears that our forefathers obtained the soil 
by royal grant under the colony charter, and by pur- 
chase, first from the Indians about the year 1630, and 
secondly from Mr. Blaxton, in 1634; and that as late 
as the year 1685 they obtained a confirmatory release 
of the whole peninsula and the surroundings. These 
ought certainly to be considered as giving a good 
title; and the order of the thirtieth of March, 1640, 
siu-ely established the Common. 


The old town records abound in votes and orders 
about this Common,, as to keeping it clean, and pre- 
venting injuries to it. The following orders are im- 
portant as well as interesting. They were passed on 
the eighteenth of the third month. May, 1646: 

"At a Generall townes meeting vpon the Lawful 
warninge of all the freemen it is graunted y' all the 
inhabitants shall haue equall Right of Comonage in the 
Towne. Thos who are admitted by the Towne men to 
be Inhabitants. 

"It is ordered, y' all who shall after the dat herof 
come to be an Inhabitant in y" Towne of Boston shall 
not haue right of Comonage, vnless he hier it of them 
y' are comoners, 

"It is ordered, y' ther shalbe kept on the Comon 
bye y' Inhabitants of y" Towne but 70 Milch Kine. / '^ 

"It is ordered, y* ther shalbe no dry cattill, younge ''^^^^ 
cattill or horse, shalbe free to goe on y" Comon this 
year; but on horse for Elder Oliuer. 

"It is ordered, y' noe Inhabitant shaill haue power to 
sell his righte of comonage, but only to let it out to hire 
from year to year. 

" It is ordered, y' if any desire to keep sheep, hee 
may keepe four sheep in liew of a cow." 

Perhaps there is more force in the following order, 
passed the same day, than has been generally noticed 
in it. It is undoubtedly the origin of all the votes and 
orders as well as clauses of city charters, preserving the 
power of control of the Common with the legal voters : 

"It is ordered, y* noe comon marish and Pastur 
Ground shall hereafter bye gifte or sayle, exchange, 
or otherwise, be counted vnto j)priety w'^'out consent of 
y^ major p' of y= inhabitants of y'' towne." 



If the order of the thirtieth of March, 1640, estab- 
lished the Common, there can be little doubt that the 
foregoing perpetuated its existence. From time to time 
a person was appointed to "keep the cowes which goe 
on the Common," for which he had "two shillings and 
sixpence the head for every cowe that goes there"; and 
a few years later a shepherd was also appointed. 

The following order, passed on the thirty-first of 
May, 1652, seems to indicate a great abuse of the Com- 
mon, and perhaps also the streets of the town. Our 
ancient Selectmen were not very choice in the use of 
language, but the words of the record give a much bet- 
ter idea of old times than any substitute for them that 
can be made by the writer. The record is as follows : 

"Att a meeting of all the Select men it is ordered, 
that noe person inhabiting w*in this town shall throw 
forth or lay any intralls of beast or fowles, or garbidg, 
or carion, or dead Dogs or Catts, or any other dead 
beast or stinkeing thing, in any hie way, or dich, or 
Common, within this neck of land of Boston, but ar 
inioynd to bury all such things that soe they may pre- 
vent all anoyanc vnto any. 

"Further it is ordered, that noe person shall throw 
forth dust, or dung, or shreds of cloth or lether, or any 
Tobacko stalks, or any such things into the streats." 

These orders were evidently the commencement of 
internal health arrangements, and may have had a good 
effect for some time; but it is very apparent that they 
must have been forgotten or overlooked, as it became 
necessary on the thirtieth of March, 1657, five years 
later, to make the following record in the town book: 

"Wliereas y° Comon is att times much anoyed by 
casting stones outt of y° bordering lotts & other things 


y* are offensiue, Itt is therefore ordered, y' if any person 
shall hereafter any way anoy y" Comon by spreading 
stones or other trash vpon itt, or lay any carrion vpon 
itt, euery person so offending, shall bee fined twenty 

It is very fortunate that some of the past city officers 
did not live in the olden time, else we shoxild surely find 
in the old records grievous notices of fines and punish- 
ments for covering the Common and malls with coal 
ashes and cinders, and for murdering the beautiful shade 
trees that our fathers had so carefully and providently 
set out for our especial benefit and comfort. 

An important order was passed by the General Court 
of the Colony on the thirtieth of May, 1660, which put 
the use of the Common more directly under the charge 
of the Selectmen of the town. The power granted to 
the Selectmen is with modifications now extended to 
a committee of the Aldermen. The record is thus : 

" Att the motion of some of Boston inhabitants, it is 
ordered that the selectmen of that towne from tjme to 
tjme shaU & hereby are impowred to order the improve- 
ment & feeding of their comons w*in the necke of land 
by such catle as they shall judge meete, any lawe, vsage, 
or custome to the contrary notwithstanding." 

The thirty-ninth section of the city charter contains 
the following: 

" The City Council shall have the care and superin- 
tendence of the pubUc buildings, and the care, custody 
and management of aU property of the city, with power 
to lease or sell the same, except the Common and Fan- 
euil Hall." 

This prudent provision, founded in the foresight of 
the wise men who projected the charter, has not been 



entirely useless, for it has undoubtedly more than once 
saved the sale of land which justly belonged to Boston 

The early volumes of records teem with such entries 
as the above quoted j but the few specimens which have 
been given are sufficient to convey an idea of what was 
done in days long past in reference to the town's great 
breathing place. 



Bonndatles of the Common • • • Colonnade Row, the Old Haymarket, School 
House, Washington Gardens, and Long Acre • • • Gentry Street, and the Old 
Town Institutions, the Granary, the Almshouse, the Workhouse, and the 
Bridewell • • • Hancock House, Copley House, etc. • • • Sea Fencibles • . . Fox 
Hill and Ropewalks • • • Hayscales and Pound • • • Frog Lane, Deer Park, and 
Foster's Corner • • • Fences, First Erected in 1635 • • ■ Styles and Gates • • ■ 
Fence Built in 1734, Burnt by British Soldiers for Fuel • • • New Wooden 
Fence • • • Size of the Common • • • Iron Fence Put Up in 1836 • • • Burial 
Ground Fence, 1839 ••• • Deer Park, 1868. 

Boston" Common has been slightly curtailed of its 
original size. When first set apart as a training field, it 
extended easterly a short distance from the present line 
of Tremont street, covering the site of the houses in 
Colonnade row, and was bounded by Mason street. Its 
westerly boundary was the water of the Back Bay, for 
Charles street was not laid out until the year 1803. On 
the north it was bounded by Beacon street j the Gran- 
ary Burying-Ground, and the land on Park street (an- 
ciently known as Sentry, or Gentry street), having been 
taken from it, — the burial-ground in 1660, and the land 
on Gentry street for the eleemosynary institutions of the 
town a short time later. The southerly boundary was 
by the estates on the north side of Frog lane (now 
Boylston street), which have since been purchased by 
the town, that part on which the Deer Park is situated 


having been bought of "William Foster on the sixth of 
October, 1787, and the burial-ground of Andrew Oliver, 
Jr., on the ninth of June, 1757. On the southwest the 
boundary ran by the westerly side of the burial-ground, 
and nearly in the course of Carver street to the water. 

There are persons now living who remember when 
the land on which Colonnade row stands was a vacant 
space, except at the corner of "West street, where the old 
grammar school-house stood, — the empty land being 
used chiefly for a haystand, and known as the hay- 
market. Further north, between "West and Winter 
streets, was the mansion-house and estate of James 
Swan, subsequently known as the "Washington Gardens, 
where was a noted amphitheatre or circus, opened for 
the purpose in July 1815; and still further north, oppo- 
site the present site of Park street meeting-house, 
was Long-acre (where formerly stood the old manu- 
factory house, and near which was the building of the 
Massachusetts Bank), and which was so named because 
a noted coachniaker. Major Adino Paddock, from Lon- 
don (he who planted the elms in front of the Granary 
Burying- Ground), had, just before the revolutionary 
war, his. workshop there. 

Beacon street, easterly end, from School street to the 
State House, was laid out on the thirtieth of March, 1640, 
by the following vote : "Also it is ordered, y^ y" streete 
from M' Atherton Ilaulghes to y" Gentry Hill be layd 
out & soe kept open for ever." Mr. Hough resided at 
the south corner of School and "Washington streets, con- 
sequently the foregoing order established the whole of 
School street as well as a part of Beacon street. The 
Granary Burying-Ground having been taken from the 
Common in 1660, and the land for the town buildings 


soon after, and Gentry street (now Park street) having 
been laid out, the Common lost a considerable portion 
of land. At the commencement of the present century, 
the old buildings alluded to were standing; and it may 
not be out of place to copy the following description of 
them and their location, which was wiitten a few years 
ago for another purpose. 

In the earlier days of the town, the lot was part of 
the now contiguous bui'ial-ground, and was nearly at 
the extreme limits of the settlements, joining upon the 
Common. As time wore on, a street was laid out on 
the south side of the lot, extending to the Beacon or 
Sentry Hill, which took the name of Centry (or Sentry) 
street. Then, when the need came, a building eighty 
feet by thirty feet, for a public granary, was erected on 
the lot, and subsequently, in 1737, removed to the cor- 
ner, its end fronting on the .principal street. This was 
constructed of wood, with oaken timbers, and was in- 
tended to hold about twelve thousand bushels of grain, 
annually purchased, and stored by the agents of the town, 
and sold at a small advance to those whose exigencies 
required such a consideration. The old and gloomy 
looking building, used in its latter days as an inspection 
office for pot and pearl ashes, and also for nails, and 
finally as a mart for second-hand furniture, h^s not en- 
tirely passed from remembrance. It stood in its lot un- 
til the year 1809, when it was taken down to give place 
to Park street meeting-house. 

Further up on the street were large brick buildings, 
called the Almshouse and Workhouse, and a smaller one 
of the same material, called the Bridewell, for disorderly 
and insane persons. The Almshouse, which stood on 
the corner of Beacon street, was erected in the year 


1686, and was two-storied, with a gambrel roof and pro- 
jecting gable; to this, in a subsequent year, was added a 
wing. Its use was confined to the aged and infirm poor. 
The Workhouse, a somewhat larger structure, about 
one hundred and twelve feet in length, with gables, and 
also two-storied, was buUt in the year 1738, and was ex- 
clusively appropriated to the vagrant, idle and dissolute 
of the town. The Almshouse and Bridewell were both 
standing when Bonner pubHshed his plan of the town, 
in 1722, and together with the Workhouse were in use 
until the completion of the Almshouse, since erected 
at Barton's Point, on Leverett street, and. which was 
opened for occupancy at the close of the year 1800. Of 
course the buUdiugs for the poor and dissolute were not 
on the site selected for the meeting-house, but on the 
adjoining lot of land, which extended to the corner of 
Beacon street, near the 'New State House, as the capitol 
was then generally styled. 

At the close of the last century, the Sentry street of 
our fathers did not present so inviting an appearance as 
does the Park street of our own day. The old dingy 
buildings and the broken fences have disappeared, and 
stately houses have succeeded in their places. !N"o more 
will the staid townsman nor the jocund youth, proceed- 
ing to the Common in wonted manner on election and 
Independence days, be interrupted by the diminutive 
hands thrust through the holes in the Almshouse 
fences, or stretched from beneath the decaying gates, 
and by the small and forlorn voices of the children of 
the destitute inmates entreating for money; nor will 
the cries of the wretched poor in those miserable habi- 
tations be heard calling for bread, which oftentimes 
the town had not to give. Those days are past, and 


one would almost desire, when reading the record of 
those times, that the remembrance of them were gone 
also. But a great lesson of charity has gone with 
them; for how many of the benefactors of the town 
made their first essay in alms-giving when they un- 
consciously dropped their little coin into those out- 
stretched hands! 

"Where the State House stands, and previous to the 
building of this edifice, the corner-stone of which was 
laid on the fourth of July,' 1795, was once the cow pas- 
ture; and further west the stone mansion house and 
stable of Thomas Hancock, the uncle of the patriot; 
and further west were a few dwelling-houses, in one of 
which formerly dwelt John Singleton Copley, the dis- 
tinguished artist; and subsequently the street was 
honored as the residence of General Knox and Judge 
"Vinal, the former a good soldier and bookseller, and the 
latter a noted politician and schoolmaster who lived next 
to the governor. UntU the year 1803, when Charles 
street was laid out. Beacon street run west as far as the 
water, where it terminated; and from this point, which 
was the northwest corner of the Common, was a row of 
large rocks (bowlders taken from the high land in the 
immediate vicinity), that extended westward to low 
water mark, undoubtedly as an Ladication of the bound- 
ary line of the Common. Just south of this point, not 
a great many years ago, — for persons who are not very 
old can well remember it, — stood the gunhouse of that 
indomitable nautico-military company, technically desig- 
nated as the Sea-Fencibles, but known to the boys as 
the Sea-Dogs; for this gallant band, first organized 
during the Madison war, purported to consist of ship- 
masters, who had roughed it in their early days, and 


buffeted for many a year the most boisterous billows of 
the briny deep. 

On the west side of the Common was the low marshy 
land bordering upon the water, on part of which was 
Fox HUl, and on the flats of which in later days stood 
the five rope-walks, which the elder Quincy, ur the first 
years of his mayoralty, removed with such marked 
improvement to the neighborhood. 

The southwest corner was used not many years 
ago (commencing about the year 1803) by the town, 
and afterwards by the city, as a position for the south 
hayscales, which about the year 1811 had been moved 
there from their old position where Colonnade row 
now is. The pound and stables also stood in the 
same neighborhood, although in very early times the 
pound was kept near the Granary Burying-Ground. 
These incumbrances were banished from the Common 
not very long after the cows were deprived of their 
pasturage, which they and their predecessors had 
enjoyed since the days of their old benefactor, Gov- 
ernor John Winthrop. A short distance south of this 
corner was Kidge HUl, a lofty bluff, the last portion 
of which disappeared when the improvements were 
made in the vicinity of the Providence Railroad Sta- 
tion House. 

The southerly side of the Common was anciently 
bounded by the rear of the estates on Frog Lane, 
portions of which, as has been shown, were purchased 
by the town and added to its territory, thereby recom- 
pensing in a degree the loss of" that part taken fi'om its 
northeast corner for the Granary and other purposes. 
Just east of the Central Burying-Ground, on the land 
bought of Mr. Foster, stood in former days the hearse- 


house, and the gun-house of one of the artillery compa- 
nies, one of the others being in Hull street and another 
at Fort Hill. In 1826 the gun-house was removed to a 
place just north of the Providence Railroad Station, 
where it was used several years by Dr. Winslow Lewis 
for a private lecture room for medical students. This 
same corner was used, about the time of the war of 1812 
as an artUlery park; and the deer park which now occu- 
pies the site of the gun-house was established in the fall 
of 1863, the deer having been put in possession of it on 
the ninth of October of that year. The estate on the 
south side of Boylston street at this corner, where Ho- 
tel Pelham now is, was long the residence of the Foster 
family; and that on the east side, where the Freemasons 
have erected their magnificent temple, the corner-stone 
of which was laid on the fourteenth of October, 1864, 
and the buUding dedicated on the twenty-fourth of 
June, 1867, was the site of the Head mansion house 
and garden. This corner of the Common was cut oif 
and rounded by an order approved by the Mayor on the 
sixteenth of June, 1868 ; and, after the great widening of 
Tremont street. Hotel Pelham was moved nearly fifteen 
feet westwardly to its present position on the twenty- 
fourth of August, 1869, being four days in motion. 

As eai"ly as the twelfth of March, 1634-5, the 
townsmen took order to have the " Town Fields," as 
they were termed, substantially fenced, with proper 
styles and gates; and on that day it was ordered, that — 
"All y" fenses to bee made sufficient before y" 7"" day 
of y^ second moneth [April 7th], and they to bee looked 
vnto by our brother Grubb & brother Hudson for y" 
]S"ew Feild, our brother Pennyman & brother Colborne, 
fory' feild by him, & our brother Penn & brother 


Belcher for j' Fort Feild, brother Everill & brother 
Matson for j" Mylne Feild." 

The following record respecting styles and gates is 
to be found in the town records, under date of the twenty- 
third of March, 1634-5. 

" Imprymis it is agreed by geaerall consent y* y" over- 
seers of y° fences of y" severall feilds shaU see to y^ 
making of such styles and gates as may bee needfull 
for every feild, & o'' brother Wilbore to see to y" gate & 
style next vnto Eoxburre, all of them to bee done be- 
fore y" aforesd 7* day of y" 2^ moneth, y^ styles & 
gates for common high wayes to bee made out of pub- 
lique charge forth of y^ constables hand, & y* pryvate 
styles ■& gates to bee made at y® charge vpon y^ land in 
every feild j)portionabhe for eidge fence vpon payne 
for every the feilde not soe done by y" 1 day of y' 3^ 
moneth, 20' to bee forfeyted by y® o'crseers thereof." 

Of the fields above mentioned, that near Mr. Colbron 
is supposed to mean the Common; and if so, it must 
have had a fence of some sort at that period. But in 
all probability there was nothing that could be really 
considered a permanent fence for the Common until 
about one hundred years later, when the first that is 
found definitely mentioned in connection with it was 
put up in the spring of 1733-4, the following vote being 
passed by the townsmen on the eleventh of March : 

" Voted, That a Eow of Posts, with a Rail on the top 
of them be set up, and continued thro' the Common from 
the Burying Place to Colo. Fitch's fence ; leaving Open- 
ings at the several Streets and Lanes." 

This fence was only on the easterly side; for the 
burial-ground alluded to was the Granary on the north 
side, and it has already been stated that Mr. Fitch's es- 


tate (that purchased in 1756 and 1787) was at the Boyl- 
ston street corner of Tremont street, on the south side. 
The streets and lanes, at which openings were left, were 
Hog alley (now Avery street, although for a long time 
it bore the name of Sheaf lane) , "West street, and Blott's 
lane (now Winter street). The westerly side needed 
no fence in the olden time, as it was bounded upon 
the water; and the northerly and southerly sides were 
protected by private estates and the public institutions 
already mentioned. Perhaps the fence was built at 
this time in consequence of the trees that had been, 
and were soon to be, planted on the easterly edge of 
the Common; for a few trees had already been set 
out in the neighborhood of the place contemplated for 
the fence, and it is evident that they had sustained 
some wanton injury, as the following vote was passed 
on the same day as that ordering the fence : 

"And, in order to prevent further waste of the Trees 
in the Common, 

"Voted. That there be allow'd and paid out of the 
Treasury a Reward of Forty Shillings to any Person 
that shall inform against, and convict, any Persons of 
cutting down or despoiling any of the Trees already 
planted in the Common, or that may be hereafter planted 
there. Also 

"Voted. That the same Reward be given to those 
who shall convict any Person or Persons of breaking 
any of the Posts and Rails that shall be put up in the 
Common as aforesaid." 

The openings into the Common appear very early to 
have been productive of evil, for the following entry ap- 
pears on the record under date of the fourteenth of 
March, 1737-8: 


"Whereas, at a Public Town Meeting the 11th March, 
1733. It was Yoted "That a Eow of Posts with a 
Rail on the Top of them be set up and continued thro' 
the Coramon from the Burying Place to Colo. Fitch's 
fence, leaving openings at the several Streets and Lanes. 
And it being now represented, and complained of. That 
the Common is much broken, and the herbage spoiled, 
by means of carts &c. passing and repassing over it — 

" Wherefore. In order to prevent this Inconvenience 
and Damage for the future 

"Voted, That there be but one Entrance or Passage 
for Carts, Coaches &c. out of Common street, into the 
Common or Training Field, to be left open near the 
Granary, to go up along by the Workhouse to Beacon 
street; and that the other Gaps or Inlets aforementioned 
be closed up with Posts and Rails as the rest." 

It is probable that the fence buUt in 1734 was that 
which supplied with fuel the camp fires of the British 
soldiers, quartered upon the Common during the time of 
the siege of Boston; for certain it is that the Common 
fence was thus appropriated by the destructive herd 
that desecrated meeting-houses, and defaced all kinds of 
private as well as public property during that eventful 
period of the history of the town. 

The Foster pasture was not enclosed as part of the 
Common until the year 1795, when the following vote 
was passed on the thirteenth of May : 

" Voted, That the Selectmen be directed to carry the 
mall to the end of Foster's Pasture, lately so called, and 
after widening the street the remainder of the land to 
be inclosed for the future use of the town." 

The wooden fence, made of neat posts and rails, 
which was standing half a century ago, and which can 


be remembered by so many, was undoubtedly the one 
that succeeded the older one destroyed during the 
revolutionary war; and was unquestionably built about 
the year 1784, when the* great improvement was made 
to the Common by the subscription of generous towns- 
men. This fence, until the year 1795, was only on three 
sides of the Common, with another fence parallel to the 
portion on Tremont street; and between these was the 
great mall, so-called to distinguish it from the little 
mall (often known as Paddock's mall, or Paddock's 
walk), in front of the Granary Burying-Ground. The 
great mall was sometimes called the old mall in dis- 
tinction of the present Beacon street mall, which was 
first known as the new mall. Not long after the 
laying out of Charles street in 1803, the fence was 
extended on the westerly side, thus completely sur- 
rounding the Common. It was constructed with square 
posts, upon which a four-inch joist was laid, with one 
corner uppermost, — a very uncomfortable seat for the 
boys, as many persons now living can testify with 
sorrowful memories, — and a slat was attached to the 
sides of the posts, like the side raUs to many of 
the old turnpike bridges, to add to the efficiency of the 
fence. At last this gave way to the violence of 
the Great Gale on the twenty-third of September, 
1815, when so much damage was done to the trees, 
fences and buildings in the town; and the Tremont 
street portion was again erected in October 1815, 
under the Superintendence of Charles Bulfinch, Esq., 
the famous Chairman of the Board of Selectmen, 
and the Beacon street portion under Abraham Bab- 
cock; Esq., in 1820, the vote for the last portion of 
it having been passed by the selectmen on the seven- 


teenth of May, and a record of it made in the following 
words : 

" The Chairman was authorized to make a contract 
with Messrs. John Gushing & Elisha Hunt to build a 
fence on the east side of the New Mall at the rate of 
fifty cents per foot running measure." 

This last of the wooden fences, the one that so 
many can now remember, was built with square white 
oak posts with rounded tops, which were connected 
with two rows of eight-sided chestnut rails, painted 
with a light color. This fence edged upon the street 
gutter, there being then no brick sidewalk around the 
Common. The iuner fence, along the Tremont street 
mall, was removed during the mayoralty of Hon. Har- 
rison Gray Otis, who, after the lemoval of the cows 
from their ancient pasturage, saw no necessity for it. 
There had been in the olden time, on holidays, three 
rows of tents between these two fences, — the easterly 
row for candy-sellers, the middle generally for cake and 
bunn-venders, and the westerly row for the ancient 
election beverage, which was the freest liquid used on 
gala days. 

When the last portion of the fencing was completed, 
the Common contained in area, exclusive of malls, forty- 
three acres and three quarters and ten perches by actual 

In 1836, the present iron fence, 5,932 feet in length, 
was placed around the Common, partly by subscription, 
at an expense of |82,159.85, the great gateway opposite 
"West street being subsequently placed there in 1857. 
A short time before the erection of this fence, an accu- 
rate admeasurement of the Common was made, and the 
malls which formed its boundaries were found to meas- 


ure in length the following number of feet, namely: 
that on Park street, 437 feet; that on Tremont street, 
1,685 feet; that on Boylston street, 700 feet; that on 
Charles street, 1,380 feet; and that on Beacon street, 
1,565 feet, — making in all 5,767 feet, losing 165 feet at 
the various angles of their union, and by the contraction 
caused by the widening all the surrounding streets and 
the establishment of sidewalks. 

The iron fence around the burial-ground on Boyls- 
ton street, as has been before mentioned, was erected in 
1839, and the iron wire fence aroxind the Deer Park in 
the summer of 1863. 



Malls • • • Tremont Street Mall, and its Three Eows of Trees, 1728, 1734, and 
1784. ■•The Great Gale of 1815.. -Gale of September 1869 ... Hancock 
Trees, 1780... Great Improvements of 1784 ... Beacon Street Mall, 1815, 
1816 • . . Charles Street Mall, 1823, 1824 . . . Kemoval of the Poplar Trees in 
Park Street Mall, 1826 • . • American Elms in Park Street . ■ . Boylston Street 
Mall, 1836 . . . Walks and Paths • . ■ Ridge Path . . • Lyman Path . . • Long 
Path . . . Armstrong Path . . . Brimmer Path . . . Other Walks • • • Attempt in 
1830 to Change the Name of the Common and Malls. 

The Common is now entirely surrounded by malls, all 
of which have names derived from the streets that form 
their outer boundaries. That on Tremont street is the 
oldest, and was therefore originally named the maU; 
although subsequently, when there was a second one, it 
acquired the name of the great mall, and now, as there 
are several, it is called the Tremont street mall. Very 
early in the last century it had only two rows of trees, 
mostly English elms, with a few sycamores at the 
northerly and some poplars at the southerly end; the 
outermost of which was set out about the year 1728, 
and the innermost transplanted there about the year 
1734; for on the eleventh of March, 1733^, upon a 
motion made by Mr. Jonathan Williams, it was 

"Yoted, That the Eow of Trees already planted in 
the Common be taken care of by the Selectmen from 
time to time, and that another Row of trees be planted 
there at a suitable distance." 


This vote did not give satisfaction to some busybody 
of the town, who, on the twenty-ninth of the same 
month, proposed the following vote, which was passed : 
" Yoted, That the additional Eow of Trees which is to 
be planted in the Common, be set to the eastward of 
those already planted there." But this vote was never 
carried out; and on the third of April, next ensuing, 
the following record was entered upon the town's book: 

"Yoted to reconsider the vote for fixing the ad- 
ditional Row of Trees (to be planted in the Common) 
on the East side of those already planted. And upon 
consideration had 

"Yoted, That the additional Eow of Trees to be 
planted in the Common, shall be, on the West side of 
those already planted there, from the Burying place to 
Mr. Sheafe's, and at such distance from the other Eow, 
as the Selectmen shall think fit." 

One of these old English elms that had braved the 
storms of one hundred and thirty-four years was taken 
down on the fourth of May, 1868, and its layers on being 
counted strictly corresponded with its age. 

The third row of trees was planted in this mall in 
the fall of 1784, when the great improvement was made 
to the Common. All of these trees were carefully 
guarded by the townsmen, who occasionally passed 
votes at their town meetings instructing the Selectmen 
to take care of them. Many of them suffered from the 
great September gale of 1815, by being blown down; 
and, when placed again in an erect position, were defaced 
by being trimmed of a portion of their upper branches. 

This tremendous gale, which will ever be memorable 
in the annals of Boston, occurred on Saturday, the 
twenty-third of September, commencing from the east, 


about an hour before noon. At twelve o'clock the wind 
changed to the southeast, blowing with an increased vio- 
lence, amounting to a hurricane; but, fortunately, con- 
tinued but a short time, shifting at about one o'clock to 
a southwesterly direction, when it ceased in its violence. 
The damage to buildings was exceedingly great. Sev- 
eral of the chimneys of the State House were upset, as 
were, also, about sixty others in different parts of the 
town. The steeples of the Old South, Hollis Street, 
Charles Street Baptist, and Part Street meeting-houses 
were much injured, and barely escaped being blown 
down. The roofs of several buildings were taken off, 
and a great destruction of slates and window-glass 
ensued from the violence of the gale. Seabirds were 
driven in quantities forty or more miles inward from 
the sea, and sea-swallows (commonly known as Mother 
Gary's chickens) were seen in the vicinity of the 
wharves, — a circimistance never before known, as they 
are rarely seen within several leagues of land, their 
home being upon the deep waters of the ocean. One 
building was entirely blown down and burnt — the old 
wooden glass-house in Essex street; and the shipping in 
the harbor and at the wharves was very much injured. 
But we are told that the most impressive scene was ex- 
hibited on the Common and its immediate vicinity. 
Many of the old and stately trees which formed the old 
mall, and skirted the Common, were torn up by then- 
roots and prostrated, carrying the fences with them; 
and several of the large elms of Paddock's mall shared 
the same fate, overturning a portion of the brick wall of 
the burial-ground. One of the trees of the old mall 
measured then seven feet and eleven inches in, girth. 
The sycamores and elms fared alike. The trees which 


suffered most were in the westerly row at the north part 
of the mall, and several were opposite the State House. 
It is remarkable that the older trees on the outside of 
the mall, which had been planted more than eighty 
years, withstood the tempest comparatively unharmed; 
while those in the most leeward row, and which were of 
younger growth, were prostrated, the wind at the time 
of its greatest violence coming from a southeasterly 
point. In a short time the trees were trimmed and 
raised to their places; and, though they made a sad 
appearance the remainder of the year, most of them 
lived, and have endured several hard blows since. The 
sycamores have, however, within a short time fallen a 
sacrifice to a blasting disease. 

On Monday, the twenty-fifth of September, two days 
after the great gale, the Selectmen held a meeting, and 
among other minutes on their records is the following, 
which gives a suflSciently minute account of the damage 
to the trees : 

" A very violent gale of wind having on Saturday 
last done great damage to the town in general, but par- 
ticularly to the Common, by rooting up thirteen large 
trees in the Mall, & eleven in the line of Beacon street, 
& three by the burying ground in Common street, the 
chair informed the board that he had employed a num- 
ber of labourers to replace them — they approved his 
proceeding, & appointed the chairman [Charles Bul- 
finch, Esq.,] & Mr. [Jonathan] Himnewell to superin- 
tend the work." 

Considerable improvement was made to the Common 
in consequence of this action of the Selectmen; for to 
this the towns-people were indebted for the new wooden 
railing described in the last chapter, which continued to 


be serviceable until the days of Mayor Armstrong, when 
it was superseded by the present durable iron fences, 
erected in 1836. Besides raising up the trees which had 
been blown down, the vacancies that had been occurring 
for many year-s were supplied with new elm-trees of the 
American species. 

On the eighth of September, 1869, fifty-four years 
after the great September gale of 1815, another not 
inferior in the amount of damage which it caused 
occurred in the afternoon, between the hours of three 
and five. Chimneys and steeples were blown down, and 
trees were uprooted. Several large trees on the Com- 
mon were blown down, one of them measuring nine feet 
in circumference near the ground. The steeple of the 
meeting-house on the site of that originally erected for 
the fourth church was blown over, so as to turn upon a 
neighboring house and pierce it from roof to cellar, and 
its famous cockerel was put to a most dismal and ter- 
rific flight, that would truly have much astonished good- 
man William Cordwell, its cunning artificer, could he 
have revisited his ancient haunts, and witnessed the new 
exploit of his pet bird. On the occasion of this storm 
the Cohseum, which had given protection to so many 
during the jubUee week in the preceding June, was 
very much injured, and many steeples and vanes were 
seriously damaged. 

UntU within a few years, during the mayoralty of 
Mr. Otis, the southerly end of the Tremont street mall 
was covered with grass, the portion between "West street 
and Boylston being very little used by promenaders. 

Only a small portion of the northerly side of the 
Common had trees in the year 1780, and these were not 
set out with any degree of regularity; and in so poor a 


condition were they then, that liberty was granted to 
Governor Hancock, in October of that year, to take up 
some of them, and put out new ones near his estate, a 
few of which with their wide-spreading branches are 
now to be seen. 

Quite an agreeable change came over the Common 
in the year 1784, just as the town was beginning to 
revive from the effects of the revolutionary war, by 
which especially during the siege, as it has been called, 
it had suffered very much. Two persons, whose names 
should not be forgotten in this connection, were particu- 
larly active in procuring subscriptions, and in carrying 
on improvements that have characterized this as the 
period of the great improvement to the Common. John 
Lucas, Esq., the commissary of pensioners for Massa- 
chusetts, who resided and had his office in Orange 
street, which it must be borne in mind was that portion 
of "Washington street extending from Essex street to 
Dover street, was one of these 5 and the other was Mr. 
Oliver Smith, a noted apothecary, who dwelt in Milk 
street, and kept shop in old CornhUl, now the north end 
of Washington street. Under the direction of these 
gentlemen, many of the low portions of the Common 
were raised, the holes filled up, the uneven places 
graded, the fences repaired, and a large number of trees 
set out, not only in the mall, but in various parts of the 
enclosure, particularly in the range of the ridge of high 
land leading from "West street to the comer of Carver 
street. The amount of money subscribed at the time, 
and paid in, was £285 14s. Id., and the number of 
liberal contributors somewhat exceeded three hundred. 

To this attempt to benefit the Common the town was 
indebted for the third row of trees in the Tremont street 


mall, then known as tlie great mall and sometimes as 
the old mall, to distinguish it from the little mall (or 
Paddock's walk) and the new mall, which was that now 
called the Beacon street mall. On the occasion, the 
Selectmen, at a meeting held on the twenty-sixth of 
July, 1784, gave permission for the improvements, as 
is made evident by the following minute upon their 
records : 

"Dr. Smith and others subscribers for planting 
another Row of Trees in the Common, & under the 
direction of the Selectmen, had liberty granted accord- 

Since the year 1784, many trees have been set out 
upon the Common, forming the several malls and ave- 
nues which now give ornament to it. The mall on 
Beacon street was laid out during the years 1815 and 
1816, the neighboring street being widened and straight- 
ened, the expense being defrayed from a subscription 
raised in the year 1814 for the purpose of defence 
against a contemplated attack from the British in the 
Madison war. 

The Charles street mall was commenced in the 
jrear 1823, and completed in 1824, during the first year 
of the mayoralty of the elder Quincy; and in 1826, 
through the energy of the same gentleman, the old 
poplar trees which used to disfigure the Park street 
mall were unceremoniously cut down early one morn- 
ing, and the beautiful elms set out in their place by his 
own hands. The two American elms, which formerly 
stood within the sidewalk of the same mall outside of 
the fence were very early placed before the old town 
buildings, which have been before alluded to as being 
situated upon Gentry street. Several unsuccessful 


attempts have been made to have these old landmarks 
of ancient days removed; and although one of these 
venerable shade trees has been obliged to yield to in- 
corrigible fate, yet one of the twins of the forest still 
remains, defying the axe, as it has heretofore the storms 
and winds. 

The Boylston street mall was extended across the 
burial-ground in 1836, two rows of tombs being closed 
for the purpose; and with this improvement the Com- 
mon became for the first time entnely surrounded with 

Besides the malls which ornament the sides of the 
Common, there are many paths, or walks, which traverse 
it in various directions, chiefly as " short-cuts " from one 
to another of the several openings in the fence, at the 
approaches of the difierent streets and avenues that radi- 
ate from all parts of the enclosure. The walk leading to 
Carver street from West street gate (built under the 
direction of ex- Alderman Samuel Hatch) has for a long 
time been known by those frequenting the Common as 
Ridge Path, on account of the bluif-like appearance it 
formerly had on its westerly side. Lyman Path, with 
its magnificent trees, lindens, elms and maples, led from 
West street to Joy street openings. Long Path and; 
Armstrong Path diverged also from the Joy street 
opening, the former leading to the corner of Tremont 
and Boylston streets, and the latter to Winter street; 
and Brimmer Path led from Winter street to Spruce 
street. Other walks than these have been variously 
designated by persons in the habit of passing through 
them. Why should not that which runs in a southerly 
direction from the Great Tree, and by the four Balsam 
Poplars or Aspens, be called Bigelow Path, in remem- 


brance of the ex-mayor who planted the quivering-leaved 
trees beside it? and why not give the name of Quincy 
Path to the walk leading from the corner of Park and 
Beacon streets to "West street, in honor of the venerable 
man who during the early years of his mayoralty did so 
much to improve the Common? 

All the walks in the enclosure of the Common have 
had trees set out at their edges since the adoption of 
the city charter, it being the pride of the committees of 
each year to do something to beautify and adorn this 
favorite holiday resort of the citizens. 

In 1830, about the time of the bicentennial celebration 
of the naming of the town, it was proposed, by persons 
who certainly could not have had much reverence for the 
past, to change the name of the Common and malls to 
"Washington Park." This endeavor, however, did not 
meet with public favor; and the old name, homely per- 
haps, but sufficiently good, has continued in use until 
the present day. May it never be recorded in oiu' city 
annals, that such a folly as that then contemplated has 
been perpetrated; for it is sufficiently discreditable to 
Boston that the names of many streets, which once 
were the record of the munificence of the honored 
dead, have been imwittingly changed to gratify the 
vanity or please the fancy of modem innovators. 



Improvements by Mayors Quincy, Lyman and Bigelow • • • Trees on the Com- 
mon • • • Trees Named and Labelled • • • The Great Tree • • • Its Great Age • • ■ 
Its Injury in 1860 ■••Its Rivals in Pittsfleld and Brookline •••Its Large 
Limb Used for Executions and the Hanging of Effigies • • • Phillips and 
Woodbridge Duel in 1728 • • • Called in 1784 Liberty Tree • • • Traditions 
about the Age of the Great Tree •■• Its Measurements in 1825. ••Gold 
Medal Awarded for a Drawing of it • • • Its Measurements in 1844, 1855, and 
1860 • • • Injury in 1831 • • • Great Cavity Noticeable in 1755 • • • Probable Cause 
of the Apparent Diminution of the Opening • • • The Cows upon the Com- 
mon, and their Expulsion in 1830 • • • The Squirrels and their Disappearance 
• • ■ Iron Fence Around the Tree in 1854 • • • Inscription • • • Offshoot, a Sap- 
ling, First Appeared in 1859. 

NoTWiTHSTAJ^DiNG the great improvements made upon 
the Common and mall in 1784, by Mr. Oliver Smith and 
others, ample room was left to their successors for con- 
tinuing on in the good wort. When Boston became a 
city, the responsibility of looking after this great holiday 
resort of its citizens fell to the mayor and aldermen, and 
they appear to have been ever mindful of the great trust 
committed to them. Mayor Phillips, perhaps, had as 
much as he could do during the year he held office — 
the first after the adoption of the city charter — in or- 
ganizing the new government and putting its wheels in 
motion, without spending his energies upon the Com- 
mon, which had already, and quite recently, received so 
much attention from the townsmen and their public 
servants, the Selectmen. He, indeed, dwelt beside the 



enclosure, at the corner ofWalnut street; but the con- 
tiguity of his residence to such a beautiful spot did not 
draw his attention from what, during his short adminis- 
tration, was of more consequence to the qitizens, and 
which required the earUest care of those who were de- 
termined that the establishment of Boston as a city 
should not prove a failure, as was too frequently at that 
time predicted, and by very many desired; for, as it 
will be remembered, the new charter was accepted by 
only a majority of nine hundred and sixteen votes out 
of four thousand six hundred and seventy-eight cast, 
and many of the opponents of the project did not vote. 
When the senior Quincy entered upon office, he 
brought with him a great energy of character, which 
has not been surpassed by any of his successors. It 
was his lot, also, to have a habitation near the Common; 
for he dwelt at the corner of Hamilton Place, and from 
his windows could see the mutilated buttonwoods, and 
the unsightly poplars, which so soon after his entering 
upon office fell victims to his good taste, and were sup- 
planted by the stately elms in Park street mall. Mr. 
Quincy did not confine his labors to the part of the 
Conamon in his immediate neighborhood, but laid out 
the Charles street mall, and set out many of the trees 
beside the paths, as did also his successor, Mr. Otis, 
whose stately residence in Beacon street also faced the 
same. Other mayors in their time, especially Messrs. 
Lyman and Bigelow, looked out well for the trees. 
Mr. Lyman set out the magnificent rows which border 
the path that bears his name; and Mr. Bigelow, besides 
setting out the aspens, the solitary oaks, and the much 
abused arbor vitse hedge on the music hill, absolutely 
saved from destruction a large portion of the trees in 


the old mall, which were about to die in consequence of 
the great mass of hard Medford gravel that excluded 
moisture from their roots, which some of the early- 
mayors, in -their mistaken ideas of what the public 
good required, had heaped upon the mail to take the 
place of the soft green, natural carpet, over which so 
many times the towns people of earlier days had prom- 
enaded, and which the boys of the town had generally 
occupied as a playground. It may almost seem incredi- 
ble, but it is true, that Mayor Bigelow, in his first year 
of oflSce, removed from the malls more than six thou- 
sand cartloads of the disintegrated and decayed granite 
and of the smothering hard coal ashes, with which his 
predecessors had put back the growth of the trees very 
many years, and had absolutely killed a large number. 
One alone of the buttonwoods now remains to give 
ocular proof that trees of that species were once in- 
mates of the mall. 

Under the immediate superintendence of Mr. Sher- 
burne, the city forester. Mayor Bigelow caused several 
hundred trees to be set out, and the decayed trees to be 
pruned, and their cavities filled up and covered with 
cement and canvas. 

There are now on the Common about 1,300 trees; of 
which about seven hundred are American elms, about 
fifty English and Scotch elms, about eighty maples of 
many varieties, about seventy lindens, seventeen tulip 
trees, ten sycamores, eight oaks, four balsam poplars or 
aspens, and a large variety of other trees, among which 
is the Gingko tree, transplanted from the garden of the 
late Gardiner Greene, Esq., in the year 1835, when Pem- 
berton Hill was taken down, and the present square 
bearing the same name was laid out. 


Within a short time (in 1864:), all the trees upon the 
Common have been scientifically examined by Dr. A. A. 
Gould, and their species ascertained j and upon some 
of the principal of them labels have been fastened, indi- 
cating their popular and scientific names, and the coun- 
try where they are indigenous. Besides giving the 
names of the trees now growing upon the Common, Dr. 
Gould prepared a list of other trees which should be pro- 
cured, and which would add to the beauty of the ground, 
and absolutely ascertained where such trees can be 
obtained. These, unquestionably should be procured 
and placed in various parts of the enclosure, from time 
to time, untU as many different specimens of shade 
trees shall ornament the paths, hills and valleys as 
can be procured, and cultivated upon the soil. 

!N"ear the centre of the Common is situated the 
Great Tree, formerly one of the most noted objects of 
the town, and now a matter of great regard with the 
old inhabitants, who remember it among the earliest 
things that attracted theh* attention in early youth. 
But it will not do to pass by this noted elm with a 
shnple mention of its place upon the Common. It 
has given shelter and shade to many generations that 
have passed away, and has braved the storms and gales 
of centuries. As far back as tradition can go, it was 
standing in its majesty and beauty; but it has been 
reserved for the present generation to witness its almost 
entire destruction. 

It is not often that an occurrence of such small 
importance as the destruction of a tree will cause so 
much sorrow and regret as did the dismemberment of 
the Great Tree on Boston Common, which occurred on 
the twenty-ninth of June, 1860, at half-past six o'clock 


in the evening. During the afternoon the appearance 
of the heavens had indicated a storm of no ordinary 
character, and indeed it came, and few will ever forget 
it, for the injury it has done. 

The great fall of water, together with an uncommon 
gust of wind, broke down the limbs of many trees 
throughout the city, not even sparing those of Pad- 
dock's mall which had then so recently escaped the 
threatening axe. The Great Tree, the pride of Bos- 
tonians, and perhaps the most. noted of its kind on the 
continent, suffered with the others; and after standing 
for centuries, the oldest of the traditionary relics of the 
days of our forefathers was in a few moments stripped 
of its beauty and its magnificent proportions, to linger 
out a maimed and displeasing existence, the evidence 
only of the violence of the storm which had so muti- 
lated it. The amount of injury the tree sustained was 
great. Its beauty has been destroyed without hope of 
renewal; and it was the skill only of Mr. John Galvin, 
the city forester, that saved the part that now remains 
standing; he using eight cart-loads of material to fill 
up the cavity in the tree. 

As soon as the storm abated, the rumor that "The 
Old Elm Tree is blown down" spread rapidly through 
the city, causing hundreds of citizens to go to the spot 
and see for themselves. To their regret, they found the 
rumor but too true; and very many who visited the 
locality of the venerated tree secured portions of the 
fallen limbs, to preserve among the choicest of the relics 
of the olden time. 

Much has been said and written about this noted 
elm, the product of our own indigenous forests, but it 
has had its rivals; among which has been the far- 


famed elm of Pittsfield, remarkable for its gigantic 
height, and for having a trunk one hundred and 
fourteen feet high below its first branch; and the 
Aspinwall elm in BrooHine, famous for its enormous 
and wide-spreadiag roots, and for the great size of 
its trunk. But both of these, also, have been deprived 
of their glory, and by storms that have passed harm- 
lessly by the Boston elm; and both have been taken 
down, and are now no longer its rivals. 

Although the tree had attained a great age, and 
uncommon size, it was more for its beautiful proportions 
and graceful limbs than for age or size that it gained 
its notoriety with those who had paid particular atten- 
tion to trees; and the associations connected with its 
history will always keep it in remembrance. Upon its 
largest limb, now gone, it has been supposed that some 
of the early executions in the colony took place, and 
it is certain that during the revolutionary struggles 
of America this tree was one of the places of constant 
resort of the Sons of Liberty, who frequently caused 
it to be illuminated with lanterns on evenings of re- 
joicing and on festal occasions. It also served the 
purpose of exhibitions of popular feeling and indigna- 
tion, for many has been the tory who has been hung 
in effigy from its branches. Perhaps on this account 
it acquired the name "Liberty Tree," which it bore 
in 1784 (the tree originally bearing the name having 
been taken down), as it is designated on a map of 
Boston engraved that year. Yery near this tree 
occurred, on the third of July, 1728, the duel be- 
tween Benjamin "Woodbridge and Henry Phillips, 
alluded to in a previous chapter; and beneath its 
branches have been enacted many a scene of youthful 


valor, in days long past, on the holidays of Election 
and Independence. 

It would be diiScult to assign to the tree even an 
approximate age; for, like the good old ladies so often 
read of, it has kept its own secret locked up closely 
within its own heart. It has been known, however, as 
far back as tradition can go, and is represented upon 
the oldest map of the town known to exist, and which 
was engraved in the year 1722, ninety-two years after 
the settlement of the peninsula, and then was of suf- 
ficient size to have attained distinction. It is reason- 
able to believe that it was growing before the arrival 
of the first colonists. A tradition has existed in the 
Hancock family, passed down by Mrs. Lydia Han- 
cock, wife of Thomas, who built the house where his 
nephew, the governor dwelt, that her grandfather, 
Hezekiah Henchman, set out the tree when he was a 
boy; which would have been about two hundred years 
ago, as his father, Daniel, the old schoolmaster, left 
Boston as early as 1674. Other accounts from the 
Henchman family give the honor to the old school- 
master, who wielded the sword as well as the birches, 
— for he commanded the famous artillery company, 
and served in King Philip's war in 1675. The last 
tradition says that the tree was set out as a shelter 
for the company. If this was the case, he was more 
provident than his successors, none of whom would 
have planted a tree — though as Dumbiedikes said, it 
would grow while men were sleeping — with such a 
long prospective view ahead, and in such a place as 
the tree has grown in. Besides, more than one hun- 
dred and ninety rings can easily be counted in the great 
branch that was broken ofi" in 1860, and which must cer- 


tainly be several years younger than the tree itself, which 
alone cames back that portion of it to a period as early 
as the Hancock tradition can with any certainty go; and, 
if any reliance can be placed in traditional lore, which is 
extremely doubtful, we must believe that the Quakers 
and perhaps Ann Hibbens, the martyr of the witch, de- 
lusion, were hung from its bough, the former in Octo- 
ber 1659, and the latter in June 1656, when it certainly 
must have been more than twenty-six years old, and if 
so was growing in 1630. 

The first measurement of the great tree of which 
any account was made was taken in 1825, at the request 
of some person residing in N^ew York. The dimensions 
were accurately noted on the second of April, 1825, and 
were as follows: Height sixty-five feet, circumference 
twenty-one feet eight inches at two feet six inches from 
the ground, and the branches extended in diameter 
eighty-six feet. At the time, it was said, that "this 
pride of our Common is pronounced by judges to be as 
handsome in form as it is large in size and venerable in 
age, and it may be worth the remark, that notwithstand- 
ing all the buffeting it has received from storms and 
hurricanes for more than a century, its original beauty 
and symmetry have not been impaired, although it has 
at times lost many of its branches." At this time a 
gold medal was offered for the best painted picture of 
it, and several were made, and in May the medal was 
awarded and sent to Mr. H. C Pratt, the successful 

In 1855, the tree was very accurately measured by 
the City Engineer, who recorded the following dimen- 
sions: Height, seventy-two feet six inches; girth, one 
foot above the ground, twenty- two feet six inches; 


girth, four feet above the ground, seventeen feet; aver- 
age diameter of greatest extent of branches, one hun- 
dred and one feet. Other earlier measurements, by 
George B. Emerson, Esq., and Prof. Asa Gray, in 1844, 
show that the tree had not ceased to grow as long as it 
stood. The latest measurement, taken by the writer a 
few months before its mutilation, gave twenty-four feet 
girth at the ground, eighteen feet three inches at three 
feet, and sixteen feet six inches at five feet, showing an 
increase of only about five inches in girth in sixteen 

The storm of 1860, which so mutilated the tree, was 
, not the only storm which injured its great branches. 
In the sununer of 1832 it was much injured by the vio- 
lence of a stoma, and its 'largest limbs were so much 
cleft asunder as to allow them to rest their branches 
upon the ground; but they were subsequently, at much 
cost and labor, restored to their former position, and 
were sustained in place by iron bolts and braces. By 
the gale of September, 1869, a large limb, measuring 
forty-two inches in circumference, was torn from this 
tree, thus gradually destroying its original beautiful 

Many of the older inhabitants can well remember 
when there was a cavity in its trunk sufficiently large to 
allow boys to secrete themselves within it. This was 
very noticeable in 1755, when a picture was made of 
it in needlework; but this has almost entirely disap- 
peared, being partially closed up by the good treatment 
and care which have been given to the tree, and partly 
from the raising of the soil at its roots. This opening 
was on the northwest side, and there is also a smaller 
one, now apparent, on the westerly side. 



' When the cows were tenants of the Common, having 
acquired the right of pasturage by a vote of the towns- 
men, passed in May 1660, empowering the Selectmen 
" to order the improvement and feeding of their com- 
mon by such cattle as they shall deem meet," they were 
accustomed to shelter themselves beneath the wide 
spreading branches of the Great Tree from the burn- 
ing sun, and to cool their heated hoofs in the damp 
marshy ground around its prominent and far stretch- 
ing roots. Consequently the immediate proximity to 
the trunk of the tree was extremely muddy, and not 
fit to be a proper place for promenade and shelter in 
inclement weather for the pedestrians. • Many attempts 
were made, in. vain, to expel the quadrupeds from their 
old haunts, which the right of eminent-domain, and the 
annual tax of two dollars, had for many years secured 
to them; but they kept their place, and enjoyed their 
rights and liberties. The new state of things, when 
Boston became a- city by an act of the legislature, 
signed by Gov. Brooks, on the twenty-third of Feb- 
ruary, 1822, adopted by the townsmen on the fourth of 
March of the same year, and announced by the procla- 
mation of the governor on the seventh day of the same 
month, completely subjected the poor beasts, as well as 
their owners, to the mercies of a new regime. The 
gentle Phillips, the first mayor, who was elected to 
office on the sixteenth of AprU, 1822, and inaugurated 
on the first of May, being as much a lover of true liberty 
as his gifted son, let the creatures alone during his 
twelve months of service in the curule chair; and it was 
not until the iron will of his successor. Judge Quincy, 
who was transferred from the bench of the Municipal 
Court to the Municipal Chair, raised the price of pas- 


turage from two dollars to ten, that a visible change was 
made in the quality and quantity of stragglers upon the 
Common. It remained, however, for the third mayor, 
Hon. Mr. Otis, noted for his politeness, and winning 
ways, to remove the trouble, as it was considered by 
those who were wont to perambulate the numerous by* 
paths and byways of the old common land, or cow com- ~ 
mons, as it might have been called in the days of our 
forefathers. On the tenth of May, 1830, the order was 
passed that banished the four legged gentry from their 
green pasture, and shady retreat under the old elm. 
Consequent to this came the raising up of the ground- 
level around the foot of the tree, and the conversion of 
the marshy soU into dry land. Heaps of material were 
thrown upon the widely extending roots, and the damp 
places were made dry; and with these changes the hole 
in the tree almost disappeared, and very nearly the old 
tree, our ancient friend, came to terminating its vegeta- 
tive existence; for its growth was checked, and its once 
luxuriant foliage began to wilt, and exhibit unequivocal 
signs of death. The subsequent removal from the tree 
of this ungenial mass of debris, which had been placed 
around its roots made room for the good soil which 
replaced the poor stuff, and again the Great Tree began 
to show its pristine vigor; and the filling up of the low 
places between the great roots, together with the heal- 
ing process of nature, diminished the apparent size of 
the great hole in the trunk, which had so often been the 
hiding-place of boys, in their sports and pastimes. 

In the summer of 1854, Mayor Smith, — he who in- 
troduced the squirrels that drove away the birds, and 
afterwards disappeared during the winter of 1864 — 
paid considerable attention to the Old Tree. He had 


it pruned and cared for, and placed around it an octa- 
gonal iron fence, which bears upon an oval tablet 
secured to the gate the following inscription: 



When the Great Tree was measured lq the spring of 
1860, an offshoot was discovered, which had recently, in 
1859, started from one of the roots on the westerly side 
of the main tree. This ghoot is still alive, measmnng 
over twelve feet m height, and about thirteen inches 
in circumference a short distance above the ground, 
and appears to have received due attention from those 
who have since that time had charge of the Conmion. 
Just where it emerges from the soil, there is a consid- 
erable cavity in the old tree; and it would not be 
surprising if the young tree, vampire-Hke, were to 
grow and flourish on the life-sap of its parent; and 
if care is continued to be given to it, it may hereafter 
succeed its parent and become as noted ia coming 
centuries as has its distinguished progenitor. 



The Training Field ■ • ■ The New Parade Ground • • • Ropewalks • • • Charles 
Street Laid Out • • • Light Horse and Boston Cavalry • • • Hills on the Com- 
mon • • . Powder House Hill ■ ■ . Old Windmill • • • Fortifications • • • Old Block 
House Burnt • • • Fox Hill and Old Windmill • • • Marsh • • • Ridge Hill ■ . • 
•Washington Hill and Smokers ' and Music Circles • ■ • Bigelow's Evergreens 
• • • Ponds • • • Frog Pond • • • Shehan's Pond, a,nd Shehan's Execution In 
1787 • • • Cow Pond, or Horse Pond • • • Wishing Stone • ■ • Moll Pitcher • • • 
Fortifications and Barracks of the British during the Siege • • ■ Measurements 
of the Common in 1851 • • • Executions on the Common • • • Petitions against 
Hanging Tulley on the Common Granted • ••Public Executions Terminated 
in 1826. 

I]sr the olden time tne whole of the Common was used 
as a training field, and on the annual muster day it 
presented a lively scene j for all the trainbands of the 
county were there, and nearly all of the towns-people 
also. On this occasion, and more especially on the 
more noted holidays, it was well lined with booths and 
tents for the sale of a great variety of eatables as well 
as drinkables, the peculiar designations of many of 
which have disappeared from use, and have become 
almost forgotten, except when some one of the old 
school ventures to speak of them. The line on muster 
days was formed a short distance west of the inner 
wooden fence of the Tremont street mall, and usually 
extended from Park street to the Central Burying- 
Ground, there being then no trees to interfere with 


the military movements. In those days the sham-fights, 
which took place in the afternoon, succeeded the morn- 
ing review, and were performed near Charles street, on 
the site of the present parade ground. The part of .the 
Common near Charles street was, until quite recently, 
a damp place, and was known to our fathers as "the 
marsh at the bottom of the Common." While Hon. 
Thomas P. Kich was chairman of the committee on the 
Common and malls, not many years ago, this marsh was 
laid out for its present purposes, preceding committees 
having done much to fill up the hollow places with 
oyster shells, coal ashes, and the dry dirt collected from 
house to house in the city carts. Indeed, in the last 
days of the town government, the scavengers used to 
bury the swill, which they took from the tenements, in 
holes dug for the purpose in" this part of the Common, 
and continued this unhealthy practice until the estab- 
lishment of the great piggery at the old House of 
Industry, at South Boston Point. 

Until the first of September, 1794, the Common on 
the west extended to the water of the Back Bay, the 
town on that day having voted to Isaac Davis and others 
a portion of the land west of the present Charles street, 
for the erection of six ropewalks. Within two years of 
this date, a sea-wall was buUt from Beacon street to 
Boylston street, and six ropewalks erected, which were 
burnt on the eighteenth of February, 1806; and five 
more were built in their places, and four of them again 
destroyed by fire on the thirteenth of November, 1819, 
and rebuilt. In 1803 the town voted to complete one 
hundred feet of a new street leading from Pleasant 
street to Beacon street, parallel with the ropewalks. 
This was shortly afterwards done, but the street was 


not finished until many years afterwards; for, on the 
sixteenth of August, 1820, " the Committee on the Com- 
mon was instructed to build a road from Pleasant street 
to Fox Hill." The first foot-walk was made in conse- 
quence of the following vote passed by the Selectmen 
on the eleventh of June, 1812 : 

" The Chan-man [Mr. Charles Bulfinch] & Mr. [Eben- 
ezer] Oliver were empowered to have the street next 
the ropewalks at the bottom of the Common raised so 
as to form a foot walk six feet wide, with a row of tim- 
ber on each side, & filled between with gravel, as a 
further security against high tides." 

Soon after this the fence on Charles street was built, 
and, in the first year of the mayoralty of the elder 
Quincy, the mall was laid out, and its trees planted. 

At the close of the last century, this portion of the 
Common was frequently used by the volunteer soldiery. 
On the twenty-third of May, 1787, "the selectmen allot 
for the Light Horse the west part of the Common to 
the beach for exercising the horses." It was then 
bordered eastwardly by a ditch, dug there for draining 
the marsh, of which it was a part. In October 1797, 
a similar request, made by Capt. Eufus Q. Amory for 
the Boston Cavalry, was refused. 

!N"ot many years ago the South Hayscales were kept 
on the southerly end of the Parade Ground, having been 
moved there in 1812; but these were removed when 
they appeared to be no longer needed; and it was 
determined to preserve the westerly portion unencum- 
bered for the use of the soldiers. The order which 
estabUshed the Parade Ground was passed by the 
Board of Aldermen on the eighteenth of October, 1852, 
in the following words: 


" Ordered, That the Committee on the Common and 
Public Squares be instructed to have graded forthwith 
that part of the Common along Charles street, from 
Beacon to Boylston streets, in conformity with a plan 
proposed by the City Engineer, for the j)urpose of 
keeping the same open as a parade ground, — free 
from trees or other obstructions." 

Therefore it has since been kept clear of trees, which 
would have greatly interfered with military evolutions. 
During the summer of 1869, the Committee on the 
Common, under the chairmanship of Benjamin James, 
Esq., Chairman of the Board of Aldermen, has caused 
the northerly portion of the Parade Ground to be put to 
grass, and that portion of the Common has been much 
improved in appearance in consequence thereof. 

Of late years the Parade Ground has become the 
favorite place for athletic exercises and games, and for 
the display of fireworks and -l^alloon ascensions on 
public holidays. ' 

From the earliest days of the town, four hUls were 
perceptible upon the Common. Three of these had 
distinguishing names: Powder-House Hill, Ridge HUl, 
and Fox Hill; but the fourth was not of sufl3.cient 
prominence and note to have gained any proper desig- 
nation, and has only come to any degree of distinction 
within the present century, and more particularly within 
the last fifteen years. These hills, with their intervening 
valleys, break up the otherwise disagreeable evenness of 
the enclosure, and add much to the picturesque appear- 
ance of the Common; and all of them have interesting 
associations connected with the history of the town. 

Powder House Hill, more recently called Flag-staff 
Hill, — until the fiag-staff was removed to Music Circle 


Hill, when the abortive attempt was made to erect a 
Soldiers' Monument, and the foundations therefor were 
laid and buried up in 1866, — was situated in what was 
the central part of the Common, before Charles street 
was laid out. It is to be seen delineated in all the 
ancient maps of the town, and was from very early- 
times appropriated, as its name indicates, for a site for 
the town's powder-house. In ancient times, as far back 
as 1652, Ensign James Oliver and Sergeant Peter 
Oliver had liberty to set up a mill upon its top. During 
the occupation of the town, in the war of the revolu- 
tion, by the British troops, this hill was entrenched, and 
was held by the artillery. After the adoption of the 
city charter, these entrenchments began to disappear, 
and now none of them are to be seen. A few large 
trees grow upon its summit, thirteen of which form a 
circle; and west of them once arose from its most 
elevated part a tall flag-staff. This staff, which for a 
while gave name to the hill, was erected on the twenty- 
eighth of June, 1837. It has since been removed, as 
stated above, to' another hill where the flag of the 
Union can float as conspicuously as on any point on the 
Common. The westerly slope of this hill was used by 
the small boys in winter for coasting; and many Boston 
boys, of an older growth, can well remember the in- 
iquity, in the form of drinking and gambling, that used 
to be carried on there before the mayoralty of the elder 
Quincy. "Without descending too much into particulars, 
one may be pardoned for recalling to mind the egg- 
nogg, rum punch, and spruce and ginger beer which 
were so profusely distributed there on Election days; 
but no reminder is necessary to recall the gaming table, 
the black joke, and the tar on the heel. The memory 



of these will remain while any one of the boys of those 
days is left to relate the feats of by-gone times. Un- 
til within a very few years, when the present Parade 
Ground was appropriated for military use, the salutes on 
festal days, and for political rejoicings, were fired from 
the hill; and the old soldiers, many of whom are still 
living, can well remember their arduous task in drag- 
ging their mounted field-pieces over the ditch, and on 
the hill. In days long past, there stood near this hill 
a block-house, which was burnt on the twenty-eighth 
of September, 1761; and it is related that "as it was a 
monument of reproach, and an asylum of debauchery, 
the inhabitants, so much noted for their agility at fires, 
remained tame spectators" of the conflagration, and 
allowed the destruction to go on. 

Fox Hill was on the westerly edge of the Common, 
not far from the place in the Public Garden assigned for 
a tower, and which projects into the pond that was arti- 
ficially commenced there on the fourteenth of !N^ovember, 
1859. It must not be mistaken for "West HiU, one of 
the westernmost heads of Beacon HiH, and which was 
situated very near Cambridge street. This hill was not 
very large, being about twenty feet in height and fifty 
feet in diameter, and was almost surrounded by water, 
being on the edge of the part of Charles River generally 
known as the Back Bay. Old persons have a remem- 
brance of it, precipitous and gravelly; and many of a 
younger age may have not yet forgotten the rising 
ground beneath one of the old ropewalks, which used 
to sMrt Charles street the first twenty-five years of the 
present century. This hill was often mentioned in the 
early records of the town; the following occurs under 
date of the twenty-seventh of August, 1649': 


"Tho. Painter hath liberty to erect a milne at Fox 
Hill by publieke consent of y" Towne in gen', and y* he 
is bound to finish y" milne in too years, and at the first 
pecke of corne it grinds hee is to begin his rent at 40s, 
p annti for euer to y'' publieke vse of y® towne." 

Connected with Fox Hill was an extensive marsh, 
which, on the twenty-sixth of February, 1665-6, was 
leased for forty years, at an annual rent of thirty shil- 
lings, to John Leverett, — he who so faithfully served, 
the town and colony in all their important offices, and 
died at last, while Governor, on the sixteenth of March, 
1678-9, — at the same time the town "granting liberty to 
the inhabitants of the town to fetch sand. or clay from 
the said hill." This marsh covered the space now oc- 
cupied by Charles street and the Public Garden, and 
extended south somewhat beyond the Station House of 
the Boston and Providence EaDroad. 

Ridge Hill extended in a westerly direction from the 
present Smoker's Circle to the shore of the Back Bay, 
and terminated in an abrupt bluff from ten to twelve feet 
high. It consisted of an ancient drift of gravel j and 
before it was levelled, not many years since, presented 
traces of the excavations made by the British soldiers, 
during the siege of Boston, for cooking places. Upon 
a portion of its crest is Eidge Path, leading from "West 
street gate to the southerly corner of Charles street. 

The other hUl was situated a short distance south of 
Powder-House Hill. There is no evidence that it had 
any peculiar name until early in the present century, 
when it was known by the boys of the town who 
played upon the Common as "Washington Hill. It 
has upon the easterly portion of it seven elm-trees, reg- 
ularly arranged in a circle, with comfortable seats for 


persons who indulge in the use of tobacco. Forty years 
ago this circle was a place of much resort, and it still 
keeps up its popularity with the present generation. 
When Mr. Bigelow was mayor, he laid out another 
circular walk, just west of the above and on the same 
rising ground, and in the area placed, in 1849, the cir- 
cular hedge of evergreens, which undoubtedly, for very 
good reasons, was girdled, and removed during the first 
year of the admiiiistration of his successor, Hon. Ben- 
jamin Seaver. A few years ago six trees were set out 
around the edge of this circle, one of which has died 
and been cut down. On holidays it is a noted position 
for a music stand, and hence has obtained the name of 
Music Circle. It is eagerly sought on the evening of 
Independence Day, as one of the best positions for 
viewing the fireworks usually exhibited on that occa- 
sion. It is now used for the flag-staff, and upon its 
summit was erected, in 1866, a small building, under 
the charge of the Committee on Health.- 

On some of these hills was anciently placed the 
gallows; for on the thirty-first of March, 1656, the 
gallows was ordered to be removed to the next knoll 
of land before the next execution. 

There are three ponds, if such they may be called; 
for in early times they were merely marshy bogs, and 
had no defined borders. Of these the Frog Pond, a 
name which has never been taken from the one that 
is situated north of the old Flag-staff Hill, does not 
appear on any of the early maps of Boston, and is 
found only on those of a comparatively modern date. 
It is said to be of artificial construction, but is remem- 
bered by our oldest residents. After the stone edgings 
were placed around this pond, m the year 1826, an 


attempt was made to change its name to Quincy Lakej 
but this proved unsuccessful, as did other attempts to 
call it Crescent Pond, and Fountain Pond, when the 
Cochituate water first flowed into it through its foun- 
tain, on the twenty-fifth of October, 1848. A short 
time previous to this, a new curbing was placed around 
the pond, in the days of the junior Quincy. 

Another pond, or wet marsh, and which could not 
have been dignified with the name as such, had not 
Boston been so deficient in these characteristics, was 
situated west of the Frog Pond, and was called She- 
han's Pond, from the name of a culprit who had many 
years ago been executed there. He was hung on the 
twenty-second of November, 1787, and. the following is 
an account of his execution taken from the Centinel, of 
the twenty-fourth: 

" On Thursday last, Jdhn Shehan, a native of Cork, 
in Ireland, was executed on the commons in this town, 
for burglary in the house of Mr. S. Eliot — in June last. 
At the place of execution his behaviour was becoming 
his unhappy situation — and he made his exit with con- 
siderable composure. He was 24 years old — was a Ro- 
man Catholick — and, except in the burglary for which 
he sufiered, does not appear, by his life, to have been 
guUty of many atrocious offences." 

The improvements of modern days have entirely 
obliterated all appearances of this pond, and the once 
damp and disagreeable place is now the most popular 
part of the Parade Ground, the portion usually selected 
for athletic games of exercise and amusement. 

The other pond, merely a wet place, entirely desti- 
tute of springs, was between the two hills now to be 
seen on the Common, and lay exactly west of the four 


aspen-trees' set out by Mayor Bigelow. This was called 
by some, Cow Pond, and by others, Horse Pond, and 
not only in wet seasons supplied the cows that pastured 
on the Common with water for drink, but also cooled 
their limbs in sultry weather. This marshy place gave 
a home to many frogs, which never took a fancy to the 
Frog Pond, so-called j and was sometimes so flooded 
with water, which ran into it in wet weather, that, if 
tradition can be believed, a man was once drowned there. 
After the removal of the cows from the Common, by an 
order of the City Council passed on the tenth of May, 
1830, the watering place became useless j and, about the 
year 1838, the city authorities commenced filling it up 
with coal ashes. At the same time all of the Common 
lying west of the two hills was graded in the same 
manner, thus preparing a good surface for that part of 
the Common which was soon after appropriated as a 
Parade Ground. 

In this connection the Wishing Stone, which can 
only be remembered by those whose heads have been 
whitened by more than fifty summers, should not be 
forgotten. It was situated just about where the path 
from Joy street runs to the Great Tree, and was near 
the Beacon street mall. Its name implied the use to 
which it was formerly put. It has long since disap- 
peared, removed probably by persons who were igno- 
rant of its associations. 

It is astonishing how many people there are who 
have personal recollections associated with this old 
stone. "When public convenience seemed to require new 
cross-paths in the Common, it was deemed necessary 
that the old rock, as it was called by those unacquainted 
with its history, should be removed from its ancient 


location. It was therefore blown to pieces by the usual 
process of blasting, and its fragments carried off, prob- 
ably to be put to some ignoble use; and the two walks 
leading easterly from the northerly end of the long path, 
near the gingko tree, diverging the one to Winter 
street, and the other to West street, were widened and 
beautified with side trees ; for the exact position of this 
noted stone was in the fork of the two paths. The 
young folks of by-gone days used to walk nine times 
around this stone, and then, standing or sitting upon it, 
silently make their wishes; which, in their opinion, were 
as sure to come to pass, if their mystic rites were prop- 
erly performed, as were the predictions of the famous 
Lynn witch, Moll Pitcher, who flourished in the days 
of our grand-parents, and who died, as perhaps the 
credulous will be glad to know, at Lynn, on the ninth 
day of April, 1813, aged seventy-five years, she being 
at the time the widow of Robert Pitcher, formerly a 
Lynn shoemaker. 

During the siege of Boston, in the days of the 
revolution, there were upon the Common several fortifi- 
cations and barracks. The British artillery was sta- 
tioned upon Flag-staff Hill, where were intrenchments. 
A battery was located on Pox Hill; and at the end of 
Boylston street, as it was in those days, and exactly 
opposite Carver street, was a strong fortification. The 
marines- were stationed on a line with Tremont street, 
and the infantry was scattered about the Common as 
was most convenient. Marks of the breastworks and 
encampments were noticeable for many years after they 
were left by the soldiery. 

In December 1851, a very careful survey of the 
Common was made, and all its topographical marks 


accurately laid down on a plan. The measurements 
differ slightly from those formerly given, perhaps on 
account of taking in the burial-ground and malls. By 
this admeasurement it was ascertained that the area, in- 
cluding cemetery and malls, contained forty-eight acres, 
one quarter, seventeen rods, and two hundred, and 
thirty-seven feet; and the cemetery contained one acre, 
one quarter, twenty-three rods, and two hundred and 
seven feet. The exact length of the fence around the 
Common, including the four gates, and the other open- 
ings, was 5,946.9 feet, or one mile and one-eighth, and 
six and nine-tenths feet. 

Allusion has been made several times in these chap- 
ters to executions upon the Common. It is known that 
the earliest were performed there, and upon regularly 
constructed gallows, though tradition says that the 
great tree was sometimes used for the purpose. It was 
not exclusively the place of execution, for persons have 
been hung during the last and present century on the 
neck, south of Dover street, where in 1769 the authori- 
ties erected the gallows; and some of the old pirates 
met their end in the harbor, qn some of the flats and 
islands. In all probability Mrs. Dorothy Talbye (wife 
of John) , who murdered her own daughter, Difficulty, 
was hung on the Common, on the sixth of December, 
1638, as was also Mrs. Ann Hibbens (wife of William) , 
who was hung as a witch on the nineteenth of June, 1656, 
as had also been Mrs. Margaret Jones, on. the fifteenth 
of June, 1648. William Robinson and Marmaduke 
Stephenson, Quakers, were hung on the Common on 
the twenty-seventh of October, 1659, and Mary, wife 
of William Dyre, on the fii'st of June, 1660. Old Jethro, 
the Indian, was huhg, and Matoonas shot upon the 


Common in 1676. Since this time, until the year 1812, 
executions were conducted upon the Common, though 
occasionally some were upon the Neck. John Quelch 
and his five associates were hung for piracy at low 
water mark on Charles Eiver, Boston side, on the 
thirtieth of June, 1704, and William Fly and his as- 
sociates, Samuel Cole and Henry Greenvill, pirates, 
were executed at Charlestown Ferry, on the twelfth 
of June, 1726, Fly, the ringleader, being hung up in 
irons on Nick's Mate, as a spectacle for the warning 
of others, and the other two buried among its rough 
gravel at low water mark. The following record, 
taken from the Selectmen's minutes, shows how exe- 
cutions were stopped from taking place upon the 

"25 November, 1812. A memorial was received 
from a great number of inhabitants, remonstrating 
against the execution of the two persons now under 
sentence of death for piracy being permitted to be 
had at the bottom of the Common. — The subject was 
considered, and it was voted unanimously that the board 
could not consent that any part of the Common could 
be used for that purpose. 

"The Chairman was desired to communicate to the 
Marshall the vote of the board, and at the same time 
to inform him of their readiness to aid the officers of 
the United States in executing the law: that a com- 
mittee should accompany him to South Boston, to select 
the most convenient and suitable place, it being their 
opinion, that the execution in a situation in a view 
open to the harbor will be best calculated to answer 
the end of punishment, the prevention of similar crimes, 
by the display of their awful consequences." 



The two pirates to be executed were Samuel TuUey 
and John Dalton; TuUey was hung at Ifooks Hall, South 
Boston, on the tenth of December, 1812, and Dalton 
was reprieved. The hanging of John Holland on Bos- 
ton l^eck on the third of March, 1826, for the murder 
of one of the city watchmen, Jonathan Houghton, was 
the last of the public executions in Boston, the jaU yard 
being from that time used for such dreadful purposes. 



Land Granted and Ropewalks Bnilt in 1794 . . . Early Condition of the Garden 

• • • Eox Hill and Round Marsh ■ • ■ Land Regained in 1825 • • • Committees 
for the Purpose and Reference ■ • • Streets around the Garden • • • The Mill- 
dam, Boylston street, and Arlington street • • • The Tripartite Indenture of 
1856 • • • Attempt to Sell the Land in 1824 negatived by the Citizens • ■ • 
Agreements with the Water Power Company • • • Leased to Horace Gray and 
Others for a Public Garden in 1839 • • • Efforts to Sell the Garden in 1843 
and 1850 • • • Act of April, 1859, by which the Garden was Saved from being 
Built upon • • • Mr. Snelling's Efforts for a Salt Water Lake • • • Alderman 
Crane's Order Establishing the Garden, and Mr. Meacham's Plan Adopted 

• • . Size of the Garden • • • Fence, Pond, Conservatories • • • Granite Basins, 
Eonntains and Figures • • • Bronze Statue of Everett • • • Ether Monument • • . 
Ball's Equestrian Statue of Washington ••• Bridge over the Pond •••Im- 
provements by the Committee of the Aldermen • • • The Garden a Suitable 
Place for Memorials. 

The Public Gaeden" was originally part of the Com- 
mon; but a great fire occurring in the neighborhood of 
Pearl and Atkinson streets, whereby the seven old rope- 
walks were burnt on the thirtieth of July, 1794, the 
towns-people opened their hearts, though they closed 
their senses, and resolved to grant the flats at the bot- 
tom of the Common for the erection of six new build- 
ings in place of those destroyed, on condition that no 
jnore ropewalks should be built between Pearl and 
Atkinson streets upon the old site. This rash act of 
our fathers fairly lost to the town the old Round Marsh, 
which had always, from the first settlement of the town, 
been a part of the Common or Training Field; and it 


was not until the first year of the elder Qumcy's ad- 
ministration of city affairs that the lost estate was 
regained, by paying the owners the large sum (as it 
was then considered) of fifty-four thousand dollars, and 
obtaining a reconveyance of the land on the twenty- 
fifth of February, 1824, it having then been out of the 
possession of the town nearly thirty years, the grant 
from the town having been made on the first of Sep- 
tember, 1794. 

In the days just alluded to, there were no streets 
forming the north and south boundaries of the flats; 
and the eastern limit of the present garden was de- 
noted by a muddy path . through the bog or marshy 
ground, which had been more travelled over by beast 
than by man. "With the exception of a small piece of 
land, consisting of gravel and coarse sand, known as 
Fox Hill, — the same described in the last chapter, and 
which was sometimes designated as an island because 
the high tides frequently flowed around it, — this 
consisted entirely of salt marsh and flats, with a few 
small salt ponds, and was not estimated as of much 
value ; though from time immemorial it had been rented 
at times for a small compensation, under the name of the 
" Bound Marsh," or the " Marsh at the Bottom of the 
Common." "When the ropewalks were built, an open 
space was left at the southerly end, near the foot of 
Boylston street, and just beside the bluff of Ridge HUl; 
but no street was made there for many years, untU the 
land west of the northerly end of Pleasant street was 
laid out and sold, and Boylston street extended westerly 
over the flats. 

By those who were living and observant of the 
topography of the peninsula before the adoption of the 


city charter, this tract of land seemed quite useless, 
except to keep an open view of the country lying to the 
west. But on the accession of Mr. Quincy to the muni- 
cipal chair, the land seemed to acquire new value, and 
it was one of his earliest schemes for the benefit of 
Boston to get back the possession of this territory, 
so stupidly granted away by the old towns-people ; and 
a committee, of which he was chairman, and Aldermen 
George Odiorne, Joseph H. Dorr, and Caleb Eddy, his 
associates, were indefatigable in their attempts to bring 
about the much-desired result. 

In consequence of a recommendation of the commit- 
tee, the whole subject was committed to five eminently 
discreet persons, who were noted for their general intel- 
ligence and probity, as well as for their acquaintance 
with matters relating to landed property in the city. 
These referees, Messrs. Patrick T. Jackson, Ebenezer 
Francis, Edward Cruft, Peter C. Brooks, and John P. 
Thorndike, one only of their number dissenting, agreed 
upon the award already mentioned, of fifty-five thousand 
dollars, to be paid to the owners in fee; and, to the 
joy of all, the property became again vested in Boston 
in its corporate capacity, and subject to the ancient 
town orders and new city charter, which reserved its 
appropriation strictly to the legal voters of the town, 
and subsequently of the city. 

On the fourteenth of June, 1814, Isaac J*. Davis, 
Uriah Cotting, and William Brown, with their associ- 
ates, were granted an act of incorporation by the Gen- 
eral Court of the Commonwealth, under the name of the 
Boston and Eoxbury Mill Corporation, for building a 
mill-dam, forty-two feet wide, from Charles street at the 
westerly end of Beacon street, to the upland at Sewall's 


Point, so-called, in BrooHine, and as near as might be 
to the north side of tide-mill creek, and to be made so as 
effectually to exclude the tide-water, and to form a res- 
ervoir br empty basin of the space between the Dam and 
Boston J^eck. Among other privileges, the act gave 
that of building another dam from Gravelly Point in 
Koxbury to the MUl-dam. Other acts of a subsidiary 
character were afterwards passed, and in a few years 
after the passage of the general act, the land west of 
Charles street, being part of the empty or receiving 
basin, became comparatively a dry place, and a spot 
upon which persons of a speculative tendency were wont 
to cast their longing eyes. In consequence of the erec- 
tion of the Mill-dam, the Western avenue, as it has been 
termed, extending from Beacon street to Brookline, was 
laid out as a street, although it was not opened for pub- 
lic travel until the second day of July, 1821 ; and thus a 
defiliitive boundary was established on the northerly side 
of the town's land, back of the Common. The street on 
the southerly side, known as the extension of Boylston 
street, was laid out by a survey made on the eighteenth 
of August, 1843, by Alexander Wadsworth, and thus 
the southei'ly boundary fixed. The westerly boundary 
was established as late as the eleventh day of December, 
1856, by the tripartite indenture executed by the Com- 
missioners of the Commonwealth, the Boston Water 
Power Company and the city of Boston, — the Com- 
mittee of the City Council being Aldermen Farnham 
Plummer and Pelham Bonney, and Councilmen Oliver 
Frost, Ezra Parnsworth and John G. Webster. This 
agreement, which settled many important points relating 
to the Back Bay Lands, received the approval of Mayor 
Eice on the thirtieth of December followiag. By this 


indenture a narrow strip of land was annexed to the 
northern part of the Public Garden, and the new avenue 
eighty feet wide, now known as Arlington street, was 
laid out. 

No sooner had Mayor Quihcy secured the title of 
the land west of the Common to the city, in February 
1824, than an attempt was made to sell it again for 
building purposes, and the matter was agitated by the 
City Council. It was considered most prudeiit to sub- 
mit the question to the citizens, and a general meeting 
was called for the twenty-sixth of July, at which the 
legal voters were called upon to decide whether the 
City Council should have authority to make sale of the 
land west of Charles street in such way and on such 
terms as they might deem expedient. A second ques- 
tion proposed was, whether the land generally known as 
the Common, now lying between the malls, should be 
forever kept open and free from buildings. At the 
meeting the subjects were referred to a large and very 
respectable committee of citizens, of which Col. John 
T. Apthorp was chosen chairman, who in October re- 
ported adversely to the proposition, and submitted three 
other propositions, making five in all, which were all 
negatived (except the second) on the twenty-seventh of 
December, 1824. The fifth question negatived at the 
time, by a vote of 1,632 against 176, was in the follow- 
ing words : 

" Shall the City Council, whenever in their opinion, 
the convenience of the inhabitants require, be author- 
ized to lay out any part of the lands and flats, lying 
westerly from the Common, for a cemetery, and erect 
and sell tombs therein, on such terms and conditions as 
they may deem proper?" 


After this time arrangements were made with the 
"Water Power Company, by which buildings were kept 
from being erected upon the Back Bay Lands, and 
things Went on very quietly in reference to the public 
territory west of Charles street. On the twenty-fifth of 
September, 1837, however, Horace Grray and others pe- 
titioned for the use of the land for a public garden, 
which on the sixth of [N'ovember of the same year was 
granted on certain conditions, among which was ©ne 
that no building should be erected thereon except a 
green-house and a tool-hohse, and these not to be over 
fourteen feet in height. The next year Mr. Gray and 
his associates petitioned again, and again in January 
1839, the same permission was granted with similar con- 
ditions; and on the first day of February, 1839, Horace 
Gray, George Darracott, Charles P. Curtis and others 
were incorporated as the "Proprietors of the Botanic 
Garden in Boston," with power ta hold property to the 
amount of fifty thousand dollars. These proprietors of 
the Garden fitted up a conservatory for plants and birds, 
just north of Beacon street and west of Charles street, 
which for a while was a place of considerable attraction, 
until it was unfortunately destroyed by fire. 

In 1842 and 1843 efibrts were again made in the City 
Council for selling the Public Garden, but these proved 
unavailing; and the matter was allowed to quiet down 
until the years 1849 and 1850; when the efforts were re- 
newed with much greater prospect of success, but were 
finally defeated, although distinguished jurists had given 
their opinions that the land could be sold. Thus, in 
1856, the tripartite agreement before alluded to was 
made, and the question of building upon the Public 
Garden was considered as settled against any such pro- 


ject. On the sixth of April, 1859, an act (chapter 210) 
was approved by the Governor of the' Commonwealth, 
establishing the boundary line between the cities of 
Boston and Eoxbury, and authorizing the filling up of 
the Back Bay. Provision was made by this act that 
no buildings should be erected between Arlington and 
Charles streets, and three commissioners were appointed 
by Governor Banks and Mayor Lincoln to make an 
award to the city in consequence of relinquishing the 
right to erect buildings on the strip of land acquired 
by the city by the tripartite indenture of the eleventh of 
December, 1856. The act was submitted to the citizens 
on the twenty-sixth of April, 1859, who voted on the 
following question: 

" Are you in favor of accepting an Act of the Legis- 
lature of 1859, entitled ' an Act in relation to the Back 
Bay and the Public Garden in the city of Boston? ' " 

Six thousand two hundfed and eighty-seven votes 
were in favor of accepting the act, and only ninety-nine 
were in the negative; so the act was accepted by the 
citizens, and on the next day a proclamation to that ef- 
fect was made by the Secretary of the Commonwealth. 
The commissioners jointly selected by the Governor and 
Mayor were Hon. Messrs. Josiah G. Abbott, George B. 
Upton, and George S. Boutwell, and they on the first of 
July of the same year published their award, giving to 
the city two parcels of land containing 44,800 feet, for 
the relinquishment of the right to build upon the strip of 
land east of Arlington street containing about 118,000 
feet (28 feet on Boylston street, and 155 feet on Bea- 
con street), both parcels subject to the restriction that 
nothing but dwelling-houses shall be erected thereon. 

While the negotiations were going on between the 



State and the city, great efforts were made by a philan- 
thropic citizen for preserving the Back Bay lands as 
free from buUdings as possible, with a lake of salt water 
for sanitary purposes. As yet he has not been success- 
ful in his intentions, though he has with him the good 
wishes of many sensible and scientific persons. The 
pond proposed was first suggested by Hon. David Sears 
in 1852, and was to have contained about thirty-seven 
acres. Mr. Greorge H. Snelling's plan was somewhat 
more extensive, and the water was to be continued to 
the full basin. ^Notwithstanding the present beautiful 
appearance of Commonwealth avenue and its magnifi- 
cent edifices, and the pleasant foot-walk between the 
two carriage ways, there wUl be many to regret that the 
refreshing sheet of water of the contemplated " Silver 
Lake " is never to ornament the city, or to be enjoyed 
by its citizens. 

After the acceptance of the act of 1859, the subject 
of further improving the Public Garden was taken seri- 
ously into consideration, and on the eighth of August of 
the same year an order was offered on the subject in the 
Board of Aldermen, which was amended by the Com- 
mon Council, and finally referred by the Board to the 
Committee on the Common and Public Squares, of 
which Alderman Samuel D. Crane was chairman, "to 
report a plan of improvement and the estimated cost 
thereof." On the thhty-first of the succeeding October, 
Alderman Crane submitted a report, rich in information 
and abounding in detail, accompanied with a plan for 
the laying out of the Garden, and recommending the 
concurrence of the Board with the Common Council 
in the passage of the order relating to the subject, as 
amended by that branch of the city government on the 


twenty-ninth of September; and also advising the pas- 
sage of an order approving the plan submitted with 
the report. The report was printed, and is a valuable 
acquisition to the history of public parks. It was subse- 
quently adopted, and the order which recommended 
the plan passed in both branches of the City Council. 

The adoption of this important order had the desired 
effect, and from that time to the present great progress 
has been made towards perfecting the Garden, and mat- 
ing it what its most ardent friends desired at its estab- 

The Public Garden now contains about twenty-four 
and one-quarter acres. The total length of its four 
sides measures 4,212.47 feet. On Boylston street, 793.94 
feet; on Charles street, 1,289.70 feet; on Beacon street, 
739.70 feet; and on Arlington street, 1,263.47 feet; and 
125.66 feet are given up to the entrances at the cor- 
ners. The iron fence was erected in 1862 and 1863, at 
a cost of $25,000. The pond, which is purposely irreg- 
ular in shape, and which was commenced on the four- 
teenth of November, 1859, has an area of about three 
and three-quarter acres. 

Soon after the establishment of the Public Garden, a 
portion of it was filled up with soil and loam, and a 
small greenhouse, in shape of a lean-to, was built in the 
year 1853 for the accommodation of the plants used in 
the PubUc Squares. This was sold and removed in 
1856, and the present conservatory erected on the Bea- 
con street side of the garden. The new conservatory 
was occupied a short time by Azel Bowditch, seedman 
and floriculturist, and subsequently by John Galvin, the 
City Forester; and now in 1870, is rented by the city to 
John Gormley, florist. 


While Alderman Crane was chairman of the Com- 
mittee on the Common and Public Squares, a liberal 
appropriation was made for completing the Public Gar- 
den. A large quantity of material was used for grading 
it, and under the superintendence of James Slade, the 
City Engineer, the flower beds and paths were laid out 
by Mr. Galvin, the City Forester, in accordance with the 
plan of George P. Meacham, of Boston, the architect, 
who received the a^ard of the committee ; and a consid- 
erable portion of it was sodded. In 1861, five granite 
basins with fountains were placed in different parts of 
the area, and much ornamental work was done within 
the enclosure. In one of these basins is a beautiful 
statue, wrought in marble, the gift of the late John T). 
Bates, the first work of art placed in the Garden. An- 
other figure, presented by Mrs. Tudor, occupies a con- 
spicuous position; and these will undoubtedly be fol- 
lowed by other similar objects from other persons 
interested in beautifpng the place. 

On the northerly side of the garden, a statue of Hon. 
Edward Everett,, modelled at Rome in 1866 by "William 
W. Story, Esq., and cast in bronze at Munich, was pre- 
sented to the city on the eighteenth of !N"ovember, 1867. 
The Ether Monument, the gift of Thomas Lee, Esq., 
stands near the northwesterly corner of the enclosure, 
and was dedicated on the twenty-seventh of June, 1868; 
on which occasion. Dr. Henry J. Bigelow delivered the 
presentation address, and the Mayor accepted the monu- 
ment with a few remarks. The equestrian statue of 
Washington, modelled by Thomas Ball, Esq., and cast 
in bronze at the Chicopee Works, was dedicated on the 
third of July, 1869, by an address by Hon. Alexander H. 
Rice, and a response of acceptation by the Mayor. 


"When the plan for the laying out of the Public Gar- 
den was made by Mr. Meacham, it was a favorite idea 
with many persons, in, as well as out of, the city gov- 
ernment, that the public buildings should be placed 
within its borders; and, consequently, much was said 
and done to bring about this project, which was sub- 
sequently ultimately relinquished by the passage and 
acceptance of the act of 1859. Upon the plan was 
designated a place for a city hall, which was to be built, 
if the measure could be carried through the City Council, 
upon Arlington street in a line with Commonwealth 
avenue, the buUding facing due east and west. This 
part of the project was given up, and. the city hall was 
built in School street, under the direction of Messrs. 
Bryant and Gilman, the architects, the corner-stone 
being laid on the twenty-second of December, 1862, and 
the building dedicated on the eighteenth of September, 
1865. An elegant bridge, consisting of a single arch, 
was thrown over the pond in 1867, for the convenience 
of pedestrians, and is esteemed a great ornament and 
convenience by the frequenters of the Garden. At the 
northerly end of the pond projects a small promontory, 
upon which stands a small summer-house supplied with 
seats, and from which can be obtained an excellent view 
both of the pond and Garden. 

The borders of the several walks of the Garden have 
been tastefully laid out into flower beds, where can be 
found, in the proper season, a choice collection of plants 
of annual growth and of a more permanent character. 
These walks have now become favorite places for the 
resort of children during the summer season, and noth- 
ing has been lost in appropriating the place to its pres- 
ent purposes, which are far more desirable than those to 


which it previously used to be put. When the weather 
is such as to permit it, there are upon the pond, man- 
aged by safe persons, several comfortable and con- 
venient boats, in which children are transported from 
one part to another, and thus entertained with an 
amusing and healthy recreation. In the conservatory 
are kept plants in great variety. 

During the last few years, much improvement has 
been made in the Garden, and many trees have been set 
out; to the principal of which, like those on the Common, 
through the instrumentality of Alderman Clapp, a former 
chairman of the committee on these grounds, have been 
affixed the scientific and popular names, as ascertained 
by the late Dr. A. A. Gould. 

The garden has now become one of the most attrac- 
tive parts of the city, and is a place of much resort in 
pleasant weather. For many of the late improvements 
upon this once neglected piece of city property, the citi- 
zens are indebted to the great energy and good taste of 
the several Committees on the Common and the Public 
Squares, to the City Engineers, and to the Superintend- 
ents, who have usually been designated as the City For- 
esters. IS'o one can now visit this beautiful place with- 
out being thankful for the interest and energies which 
have brought about, and carried to such a degree of per- 
fection, this ornament to the city; nor should anyone be 
unmindful of those, who, by their wise forethought, have 
saved this land from the inordinate desire of gain which 
has several times threatened its sale for building pur- 

l^ow that so many statues and other memorials of 
the distinguished sons of Boston are to be placed in 
prominent positions in the city, would it not be well to 


devote the green spaces between the paths of this much 
frequented Garden to this laudable purpose? The chief 
European cities have their squares for works of art, and 
why should not also Boston? 



The Granary Mall • • • Its Situation • • ■ Its Trees Saved in 1860 • ■ • Its Establish- 
ment by Captain Paddock • • • Its Two Walks, and the Uses of the Outer 
Walk • • • Mr. Ballard's Agency in the Establishment of the Mall • • • Captain 
Adino Paddock and his Family • • • When the Trees were Transplanted • • • 
First Imported flrom England, and Set Out in Milton before their Removal to 
Boston • • • The Original Number Set Out • • • Eleven now remaining • • • Their 
Cavities for a time the Winter Resort of Squirrels • • • Size of the Largest 
Tree ■ • • Illumination of the Trees on the News of the Repeal of the Stamp 
Act in 1766 ■ • • Trees injured wantonly in 1766 and 1771, but preserved dur- 
ing the Revolution . . . Injury from the Great Gale of 1815. 

There is another mall in Boston besides those sur- 
rounding the Common, which is equally as distinguished 
as they have been; and this should not be forgotten, 
though the once graceful branches which formerly 
adorned its noted elms have become decayed in their 
old age, and haVe been mutUated by the saw, the trees 
themselves barely escaping the threatening axe that 
came so near annihilating them in January, 1860. The 
Granary Mall, in which these old friends have stood and 
given an agreeable and refreshing shade for more than 
a century, is situated in one of the most frequented ave- 
nues of the city, and occupies the sidewalk in Tremont 
street, just east of the Granary Burying-Ground. The 
following description of it is a revision of an account 
written soon after the escape of the old trees in 1860, 
when they were so fortunately preserved from destruc- 


tion by the active exertion of Alderman Samuel D. 
Crane, Clement Willis, and Thomas C Amory, Jr., and 
others of the City Council. 

In the olden time this mall, or walk (as it is some- 
times called) about three hundred and fifty feet in 
length, extended in width some distance westerly into 
the present limits of the burying-ground; and was cur- 
tailed of its size a little in 1717, just at the time arrange- 
ments were in progress for building tombs around the 
edges of the cemetery. The associations connected 
with it are of sufficient interest to warrant giving to its 
history one chapter of the present series of topographi- 
cal papers. 

It is fully settled, by general consent, that Captain 
Adino Paddock, who served the town of Boston many 
years as a sealer of leather and as one of the firewards, 
was principally concerned in the truly praiseworthy un- 
dertaking of establishing the Granary Mall. Hence the 
name of Paddock's Mall (or walk) was, without any 
special municipal sanction, given to this row of trees, 
and also to the sidewalk which they occupy, and which 
became quite narrow after the fence of the burying- 
ground was erected. For a time the footpath barely 
protected the roots of the trees from passing carriages, 
so near to the highway was it originally laid out; but in 
aftertimes it was widened to its present ample dimen- 
sions by the construction of another walk on the street 
edge, the two pathways being separated by a curbstone, 
and the inner promenade being several inches moi'e ele- 
vated than the outer. On the outermost of the walks it 
was, that in the good old times, before Boston became 
dignified by a city charter, the stalls and booths were 
placed on public holidays and days of general rejoicing, 



for the Tending of the smaller matters of refreshment, 
preparatory to the larger and more varied supply to be 
found in profusion on the Common and its numerous by- 
paths, malls and, eminences. 

!N"otwithstanding the prominent part taken by Mr. 
Paddock, the name of another person is often spoken of 
in connection with the setting out of these trees, — that 
of Mr. John Ballard, a resident of the north end of the 
town, an active and public-spirited man, and an enter- 
prising mechanic, l^o others are mentioned as taldng 
any part in the laudable endeavor; and to these generous 
individuals alone, in the absence of all positive knowl- 
edge to the contrary, must be given the well-merited 
thanks of those who have lived to enjoy the benefits 
thus bestowed upon so many generations. 

Mr. Paddock, though not an Englishman by birth — 
for he descended from the good pilgrim stock of the 
Pljnnouth colony — was so by training. He had been 
bred a builder of chairs, as the light one-horse vehicles, 
which are now called chaises, were then called; and his 
foreign predilections led him, on settling m busiaess, to 
give the name of the old street in London, rendered 
famous for carriage building, to the part of the street 
where his workshop stood, opposite the G-ranary Bury- 
ing Ground; and for a considerable time after Mr. Pad- 
dock retired from Boston, as he did when the British 
evacuated the town, that portion of the street extend- 
ing from King's Chapel to "Winter street, and at the 
time a portion of Common street, was known as Long 
Acre. In this account the distinctive title of Captain is 
by preference given to Mr. Paddock, although he also 
had, even during his sojourn in Boston, a claim to the 
higher military appellation of Colonel. As an active 


officer, and for a time commander of the Boston train of 
artillery, he felt himself particularly honored, as he was 
then in a position of great usefulness; for, in fact, his 
lessons in military matters, while in the Train, were 
productive of much good, as laying the foundation of 
good soldiership in the Province, by giving thorough 
instruction to many who afterwards became distin- 
guished officers in the patriotic army of the revolution- 
ary war. Ardently attached to the interests of the 
mother country, and one of the foremost of the loyalist 
party, he left Boston in March 1776, for Halifax, IN". S., 
and in the following June embarked with his wife and 
children for England, where he resided till the year 
1781 ; when, receiving an office under the English Gov- 
ernment, he removed to the Isle of Jersey, and there 
remained until the time of his decease, which event 
occurred on the twenty-fifth of March, 1804, he being 
at the time seventy-six years of age. 

Of the descendants of Mr. Paddock, it should be 
said, that although the immediate family of this gentle- 
man took up their abode in England after leaving Bos- 
ton, nevertheless, the oldest son, bearing his father's 
name, prepared himself for the practice of medicine, 
and returned to America, and passed his last days in 
l!<rew Brunswick, where he left a family of sons, many 
of whom attained considerable distinction in St. John. 

The exact- time when the trees of the little mall 
were planted by Capt. Paddock cannot be stated with 
that degree of precision that is desirable; yet there is 
not room for a reasonable doubt that this event took 
place about 1762, at which time Mr. Paddock was thirty- 
four years of age. This date is given by Mr. Emerson, 
in his report on the trees of Massachusetts, presented to 


the Legislature of the Commonwealth in the year 1846; 
and his statement was then made from authority which 
he deemed at the time conclusive, and corroborative 
evidence sustains him in his opinion. For a time after 
the importation of the trees from England, they are said 
to have been in a nursery in Milton, where they were 
carefully watched until they were of sufficient size 
and strength to be transplanted in a place so public as 
that for which they were selected. 

The setting out of Paddock's trees must not be con- 
founded with the transplanting of the trees of the great 
mall on the Tremont street side of the Common. The 
outermost row of these trees, it will be remembered, waa 
set out some time about 1728, the year of Paddock's 
birth; the second row in the same mall was placed there 
in the spring of 1734; and the third or innermost row 
was planted by Mr. Oliver Smith and other townsmen, 
in the fall of 1784. 

Although Paddock's English ehns do not exhibit, 
when in full foliage, the gracefulness of the American 
species, they have the advantage of continuing longer 
in their dress of green. They put forth their leaves 
weeks sooner than the natives do, and retain them some 
time after the limbs and branches of the indigenous trees 
are entirely leafless. !N"ow, only eleven of these noble 
trees remain standing in their lot; three, at least, have 
fallen within a few years, sacrificed by a' false taste in 
paving the sidewalk in which they stood. How many 
of them there were originally is not known. It is sup- 
posed that the row extended from Park street meeting- 
house northerly to the larch-tree in the burial-ground, 
beneath whose shade slumber the victims of the State 
street massacre of the fifth of March, 1770. If, how- 


ever, the row extended so as to skirt the whole front of 
the Granary Burying-Ground, there might have been 
sixteen trees in all. The usual length of life allotted to 
this species of tree is about one hundred and fifty years, 
although some individual trees have been known to sur- 
vive the effects of storm and natural decay for twice 
that period. These trees have no doubt stood somewhat 
over one hundred years, and already begin to show 
strong symptoms of an approaching end; for most of 
them have lost parts of their largest limbs, and several of 
them are already so hollow as to have afforded a win- 
ter retreat to the few gray squirrels, which, after enjoy- 
ing the neighboring cemetery as a playground during 
the summer months, were compelled to find more 
comfortable quarters from the inclemencies of the cold 
season of the year, and also receptacles where they 
could safely and conveniently store their winter's supply 
of food. These habitations are now deserted, as the 
squirrels have also left the Granary Burying-Ground 
within a short time, as they did the Common. 

The largest of these trees is the one nearest the Tre- 
mont House. "When it was measured by the writer in 
the spring of 1860, it was in circumference, near the 
sidewalk, sixteen feet and ten inches; at a height of 
three feet, the circumference was twelve feet and eight 
inches ; and at the height of five feet above the sidewalk, 
eleven feet and eight inches. It may be a matter of 
wonderment that this tree is the largest of all the trees 
belonging to the public walks of the city, with the single 
exception of the great American elm-tree of the Com- 
mon; for it was set out about thirty or thirty-five years 
after those of the two outermost rows in the Tremont 
street mall. Nevertheless there is sufficient reason for 


the fact: for most of the elms in the malls of the Com- 
mon have died out and been replaced by other trees, and 
those that remain have almost been choked for want of 
moisture, which the hard walks have kept from their 
roots, so that they have in a degree become stinted in 
their growth by the injury, and put back more than 
thirty-five years. l!^otwithstanding the neglect of the 
other public trees at times, those of Captain Paddock 
were cherished with the greatest care, and their roots 
nourished by the richest soil. Even in more recent 
days, with some exceptions, these trees have been more 
carefully looked after than those on the Common. 

Taking for granted that Paddock performed his 
great benevolence in 1762, or about that time, the trees 
must have been mere saplings when they were first 
called upon to do public service ; and on this occasion 
they not only made their first appearance in history, but 
also ran their first risk of mutilation, if not of entire 
destruction. On Friday, the sixteenth day of May, 
1766, there arrived in Boston harbor the brigantine 
Harrison, Shubael Coffin, master, belonging to " John 
Hancock, Esq., a principal merchant of the town," in 
about six weeks from London, bringing the important 
account of the repeal of the American stamp act, which 
had received the royal assent on the nineteenth day of the 
previous March. In compliance with the arrangements 
made at a general town meeting, held in anticipation of 
such joyful ne\vs, the selectmen of the town met in 
Faneuil Hall, and appointed Monday, the nineteenth of 
May, to be passed as a day of general rejoicing for that 
happy occasion. The day was ushered in, very much in 
the manne.r of the present time, by the ringing of bells, 
the discharge of cannon, the displaying of colors from 


houses and from the masts of the shipping, and by mar- 
tial music. A royal salute was fired by Captain Pad- 
dock's train of .artillery, and glorious doings were had 
on the Common. In the evening the rejoicings were 
after the peculiar fashion of the day, by illuminations 
and bonfires. A pyramid on the Common, ornamented 
with patriotic paintings, and lighted by two hundred 
and eighty lamps, concluded the display of the evening, 
with a discharge of fireworks; and the rejoicings of the 
first day were brought to a close by a grand and elegant 
entertainment given by Mr. Hancock to the genteel part 
of the town, and a treat to the populace of a pipe of 
Madeira wine. On the next evening, Liberty Tree, 
which had been lighted up with forty-five lanterns, was 
again illuminated with one hundred and eight, in allu- 
sion to the majority that repealed the odious act. It is 
traditionally related, also, that Paddock's trees and 
those on the Common were similarly decorated, and, 
although they escaped injury on that famous day, it 
appears from the following advertisement, printed in 
the Massachusetts Gazette Extraordinary, on Thurs- 
day, the twenty-second day of May, and re-published 
in the Evening Post of the twenty-sixth of the same 
month, that inconsiderate persons had already com- 
menced indiscretions upon the then harmless row of 
small trees: 

THE Eow of Trees opposite Mr. Paddock's shop have of late 
received Damage by persons inadvertently breaking off the limbs of 
the most flourishing. The youth of both sexes are requested, as they 
pass 'that way, not to molest them ; those trees being planted at a con- 
siderable expense, for an Ornament and Service to the Town. Not 
one of the trees was injured the Night of General Rejoicing, but last 
Night several Limbs were broke off." 


From the years 1766 to 1771, it seems that all went 
well with the trees; but in the latter year the hand of 
indiscretion was again raised to mar them. The follow- 
ing advertisement may be found in the Boston Evening 
Post of Monday, August 26, 1771: 


Will be given by the subscriber to any one who shall inform him of the 
Person or Persons that on Thursday night last cut and hacked one of 
the Trees opposite his House in Long Acre. 

" As said Row of Trees were planted and cultivated at a consider- 
able expense, it is hoped that all persons wlU do their Endeavour to 

discountenance said Practices. 


"Whether the outrage alluded to as above given was 
caused in consequence of Paddock's toryism is not 
known; but it is positively certain that his trees were 
respected by the British soldiery, during the siege of 
the town; and when those lawless vandals were dese- 
crating churches, pulling down meeting-houses for fuel, 
and discharging their firearms at harmless gravestones, 
they had grace enough to spare the trees. Paddock is 
said to have written, many years after the days of the 
revolution had passed away, to one of his Boston friends, 
expressing gratitude that the trees for which he had 
always had a deep solicitude had escaped those days of 
trial. Their day of doom has not yet come. The earth- 
quakes have left them unharmed. The great gale of 
1815, though it upset many, and marred their propor- 
tions, did not uproot them so but that they could be 
restored; nor did the storm of the twenty-ninth of 
June, 1860, nor the gale of the eighth of September, 
1869, destroy any of these venerable trees, although in 


both instances many of their large branches were broken 
off, and their beauty much impaired. They have passed 
on flourishingly; the spirit of improvement has alone 
come near destroying them. In the days of Mayor 
Armstrong they met with serious injury, when the 
stone foundation for the iron fence of the Granary 
Burial-Ground was laid. The roots by which they 
obtained the greatest part of their nourishment were 
cut off, and many of their branches began to fail. As 
time sped, they began to recover from this shock. 
They had, indeed, scarcely resumed their former con- 
dition when their roots were deprived of the necessary 
moisture by a closely -laid brick sidewalk, and of course 
they again pined. The removal, however, of a portion 
of the bricks, and allowance of proper moisture, together 
with an enriched soil, gave them another chance for the 
continuance of life; and thus they now remain. Far 
distant may the day be, when these old friends must be 
removed from the spot which they have so long occupied 
and ornamented; and may our city fathers ever regard 
them as among the cherished objects which must be 
preserved with the greatest care, as valued heritages 
that Bostonians have received from the generations that 
have preceded them. 



Washington Square on Tort Hill • • -Ancient Cornhill • • -Bowling Green- - - Bea- 
con Hill •-- Church Green, and Church Square ■•• Columbia Square, 1801, 
named Blackstone and Franklin Squares in 1849 • - - Franklin Place, 1793 - - - 
Louisburg Square, 1834 - - - Pemberton Square, laid out in 1835, and named 
in 1838 • - - City Hall Square, 1841, formerly Court Square in 1815 - - - Lowell 
Square, 1849 • • - South End Squares in 1849-1851, Chester Square, Union 
Park, Worcester Square ■ • ■ Haymarket Square - - • East Boston Squares, 
Maverick, Central and Belmont Squares • • - South Boston Squares, Tele- 
graph HOI and Independence Square. 

Besides the Common and Malls, and the Public Gar- 
den, there are in Boston several other public grounds 
known as the Public Squares. These, with a few others 
of a more private character, should not be omitted in a 
description of the topography of the city. The ordi- 
nary squafes at the junction of streets are more prop- 
erly classed with, the streets, alleys, lanes, courts and 
places, and will not, therefore, be taken into considera- 
tion at the present time, but be reserved for future 

In a previous chapter, a description was given of 
Fort HUl, more particularly as one of the prominent ob- 
jects of view on approaching Boston. Upon its summit 
was formerly seen a circular enclosure, surrounded with a 
square, usually known as Washington Square, and some- 
times as Washington Place, the circular portion retain- 
ing the name of Fort Hill, the designation which the 


whole enclosure has borne for very many years. This 
summit was the ancient Cornhill of the forefathers of 
the town, and in the olden time had upon it the earliest- 
built fortification of the peninsula, if not even of the old 
colony of the Massachusetts Bay. Like ail the other 
prominent eminences of the town, which could be 
reached by the winds, it was the seat of one of the nu- 
merous mills erected for the convenience of the towns- 
people, — this particular one being carried on by the 
widow Anne Tuthill, who moved it to that situation 
in the fall of the year 1643, not long after the death of 
her husband Richard, who had been a very prominent 
person in town matters. In the years 1740 and 1742 
attempts were made to have this place called Bowling 
Green; and, though the project was at the latter date 
favorably entertained, it did not succeed, and the hill 
was allowed to retain its old and well-known name. As 
early as the year 1803, the circle had been laid out; and 
during the years 1812 and 1813 efforts were made for 
improving the general appearance of this then much 
frequented place. Soon after this the old wooden posts 
and rails were erected upon it; and these not long after 
gave way to a neater wooden structure, which was 
taken down in 1838, and a very neat iron fence com- 
pleted in its place in July of the same year. The portion 
of land enclosed contained about 40,000 square feet, the 
diameter within the fence being about two hundred feet. 
This was sometimes called Washington Place, though 
the familiar name of Fort Hill is its true and most pop- 
ular designation, on account of its old associations. By 
the Fort Hill improvement this place has been much 
changed in appearance, and its characteristics entirely 


For many years the Common and Fort Hill, if the 
burying-grounds are excepted, were the only public 
places in the peninsula which the towns-people enjoyed 
for pleasure meetings on gala days; for the South End 
with its large area of vacant land was too far distant 
from the settlement, and the square upon Beacon Hill, 
where the beacon, and subsequently the monument, 
stood, was altogether too limited in its size, (being only 
four rods square,) for anything like a promenade, al- 
though the last mentioned spot was frequently visited, 
in consequence of the delightful prospect of the harbor 
and neighboring country which it afforded. 

Previous to the year 1715 a small area of land at the 
junction of Simimer street and Blind Lane (the easterly 
part of Bedford street) was known as Church Green. 
Why it was so called cannot be inferred; for there was 
no meeting-house then in its immediate neighborhood 
nearer than the old building of the Old South Church at 
the corner of Milk street. The name first appears in 
the following record taken from the town books, under 
date of the twentieth of September, 1715 : 

" In answer to the petition of Sundry of the Inhab- 
itants who are desirous to erect a 'New Meeting House, 
Praying the Town to grant them a Piece of Land suit- 
able to build the same upon, 

"Yoted, a grant to Messrs Henry Hill, Eliezur 
Darby, David Craige, Nicholas Boon, Samuel Adams 
& their associates and successors for ever, a Piece 
of Land comonly called Church Green nigh Summer 
street in Boston of sixty five feet in Length and forty 
five feet in Breadth (with convenient High "Wayes 
Hound the same) for the Erecting thereon an Edifice 
for a Meeting House for the Publick "Worship of God. 


Provided the sd Meeting House be erected and im- 
proved to that use within the space of Three years 
next ensuing." 

At the same town meeting, the selectmen were 
empowered to lay out the piece of land, and were 
directed to make and execute the proper deed of con- 
veyance, agreeably to the tenor of the grant; which act 
they performed on the twenty-first of November follow- 
ing. Of the grantees, Messrs. Hill, Darby and Craige 
were styled mariners, Boone a bookseller, and Adams 
a maltster. By the laying out of this land for the Il^ew 
South Meeting-House, Church Green disappeared. To 
this religious society, the town afterwards gave an 
additional piece of land, with a very cautious condition 
(after the prudent manner of Mr. Bulfinch, the noted 
selectman) ; and upon these lots stood the octagonal 
stone biiilding, which in the year 1868 was removed 
for the accormnodation of business. 

Care must be taken not to confound Church Green 
with the well-known square for many years known as 
Church Square, and which surrounded the old Brick 
Meeting-House of the First Church in Comhill, oppo- 
site State street; nor with the more ancient square that 
for several years environed the most ancient building of 
the same society, which stood upon the lot now occupied 
by Brazier's building in State street, and which was 
sold abojit two hundred and thirty years ago to an 
Englishman for one hundred and sixty pounds sterling, 
to raise means for defraying the expense of re-building 
the meeting-house that stood where Joy's building now 
is, and which was destroyed by fire on the second of 
October, 1711. 

At the March meeting in the year 1800, the question 


of laying out the iN'eck lands came up, and the subject 
was referred to the selectmen, who reported in March 
1801, presenting a plan, in which the land was divided 
into streets and lots, the streets being regular and drawn 
at right angles; "and to introduce variety, a large cir- 
cular place " was left to be ornamented with trees, which 
the committee said would " add to the beauty of the 
town at large, and be particularly advantageous to the 
inhabitants of this part," the Ifeck. The " circular 
place " was called Columbia Square ; .and in reality was 
an oval grass plot, bounded by four streets, with Wash- 
ington street running through its centre — indeed, the 
identical territory now included in Blackstone and 
Franklin Squares, the last of which was for a time called 
Shawmut Square. The old Columbia Square never 
became distinguished, excepting its westerly part, which 
was noted as being the site on which poor Henry Phil- 
lips (Stonehewer Davis) was so uselessly hung on the 
thirteenth of March, 1817, for killing Gaspard Dennegri 
at the Eoebuck Tavern, near FaneuU Hall Market 
House, on the first of December, 1816. This square 
was for many years much neglected, and remained so 
nntil the twenty-first of February, 1849, when its east- 
erly portion was called Franklin Square, and its west- 
erly half Blackstone Square, the iron fences which 
surrounded these being completed in ll^ovember of the 
last-mentioned year. Of these, Franklin Square now 
contains 105,205 , square feet, and Blackstone Square 
105,000 square feet. In each of these is a fountain, 
supplied from Cochituate Pond. 

Franklin Square must not be confounded with Frank- 
lin place, just east of the old, and now part of the pres- 
ent Franklin street. This last was the site of a great 


private undertaking. Originally, being of a marshy and 
boggy character, it had lain unimproved till the close of 
the last century, when Joseph Barrell, Esq., a noted 
merchant of the town, who dwelt in Summer street, laid 
it out for a pleasure garden, ornamenting it with a fish 
pond, and- fountain. In 1792, a plan was formed for 
building two rows of brick houses in the form of cres- 
cents, on the tontine principle, and the foundation of these 
was laid on the eighth of August of the next year. In 
a short time sixteen comfortable and fashionable houses 
were erected on the spOt, and a small grass plot fenced 
in and ornamented with a monumental urn commemora- 
tive of Franklin, the great Bostonian. For this great 
improvement to the town, its people were indebted to 
Charles Bulfinch, a gentleman of great enterprise and re- 
fined taste, and to WilUam ScoUay and Charles Yaughan, 
men eminently distinguished for their public spirit and 
endeavors in improving the style of building in the town. 
The urn was removed a few years ago, when tlie present 
stone warehouses were erected on the two sides of the 
place, which is now known as FranMin street, the 
name of place having been taken from it. This monu- 
ment was obtained in Bath, England, by Mr. Bulfinch, 
and sent to this coimtry. It now stands upon the lot on 
Bellwort path, leading from "Walnut avenue in Mount 
Auburn Cemetery, where are deposited the remains of the 
most noted of the chairmen of the selectmen of Boston. 
Louisburg Square, private property, situated on the 
western slope of Beacon Hill, and upon a portion of Mr. 
Blaxton's garden, was laid out about the year 1834. 
The statue of Aristides was placed in the grass plot in 
it on the first of December, 1849, and that of Columbus 
more recently. 


Pemberton Square, also private property, is the site 
of one of the old peaks of the easterly summit of Beacon 
HUl, and was laid out in the year 1835; and the sur- 
rounding land for building lots was sold on the seventh 
of October. It had its present name assigned to it on 
the nineteenth of February, 1838. 

When the court house on School street was refitted 
for a City Hall, in the years 1840 and 1841, the bmldiugs 
in front of it were removed, and the land, the last part 
of which had been purchased on the fourth of June, 
1839, was laid out as a square, and fenced with iron 
pales. Many persons wUl undoubtedly remember when 
Mayor Bigelow in 1851, about the time of the " reign of 
terror " to the dogs, had the additional pales inserted in 
the fence, to keep annoying animals from the enclosure. 
Before the erection of the present new City Hall^ the City 
Hall Squares contained 10,200 square feet of land. The 
old building, one story high, on School Street, near the 
burial-ground, occupied many years as a grocery store 
by Asa Richardson, will be easily recollected, as also will 
the brick building in its rear, erected by Hon. William 
Sullivan in 1815, and known as Barristers' Hall. This 
was named Court Square on the fifteenth of September, 
1815, on the completion of Mr. Sullivan's building. The 
statue of Franklin was inaugurated in front of the old 
City Hall on the seventeenth of September, 1856, and 
was finally removed to its present position on the seventh 
of July, 1865- The iron fence, which was completed in 
^November, 1865, adds much to the neat appearance of 
the squares. The most westerly of these two squares, 
that in which the Franklin statue stands, is shaded by a 
very large triple-thorned acacia {GleditscJiia triacan- 
thos) , one of the largest and most ornamental of the na- 


live forest-trees of America. ]N"o ruthless hands should 
ever lay violence upon this tree, which already vies in 
size and beauty with those cultivated with much care in 
some of the palace-gardens and parks near London. 

In 1849 a lot of land was purchased in Cambridge 
street in front of the Meeting-House of the West 
Church, and laid out into a square. This lot of land 
contains 5,782 square feet, and was sometimes called 
Derby Square. On the twelfth of ^N^ovember, 1853, the 
late Rev. Dr. Charles Lowell set out four oak-trees in 
the enclosure, the same having been raised from acorns 
planted at his seat at Elmwood, in Cambridge. 

La 1849 much was done during the first year of the 
mayoralty of Hon. John P. Bigelow towards improving 
the public lands at the South End of the city; and in 
1850, a new ordinance was passed concerning the public 
lands which gave enlarged powers to the joint standing 
committee of the city council. On the seventh of Feb- 
ruary, of the last-mentioned year, the following order 
was passed: 

" Ordered, that the Joint Standing Committee on 
Public Lands be authorized to lay out such streets and 
squares on the public lands, and make such alterations 
in the lots as the best interests of the city may require ; 
provided such laying out shall not conflict with the 
rights of private citizens, and be subject to the approval 
of the Mayor and Aldermen." 

The committee who were to carry out this important 
order consisted of Hon. Mr. Bigelow (the Mayor), 
Aldermen Samuel S. Perkins and Billings Briggs, and 
Messrs. Abel B. Munroe, ]S"athaniel Brewer, Albert T. 
Minot, Benjamin Beal and Aaron H. Bean of the com- 
mon council. The committee was largely assisted by 



Hon. Peleg "W. Chandler, who has so unwaveringly ad- 
vocated all the recent city improvements in connection 
with the public lands ; and also by a special committee, 
of which Hon. Henry B. Rogers, then an Alderman, was 
chairman, and through whose active exertions a high 
grade for the neck lands was obtained, which added 
much to the value of the territory for private dwellings. 
Plans and estimates were made by Messrs. E. S. Ches- 
brough and "Wiliram P. Parrott, sMlful and experienced 
engineers; and from this time the South End began 
to be the most desirable part of the city for genteel 
residences. About this time, and in consequence of 
the above-mentioned order of the city council, several 
squares were laid out at the South End, mainly through 
the instrumentality of Mr. Minot, a member of the com- 
mittee. Of these, Chester Square, which contains 57,- 
860 square feet of land, and East Chester and "West 
Chester Parks (called avenues by vote passed in 1869) , 
were established in 1850, and the neighboring house-lots 
were sold on the thirtieth of October, 1850. Union 
Park (originally laid out as "Weston street) contains 
an area of 16,000 feet, and its lots were sold at auc- 
tion on the eleventh of June, 1851. Worcester Square, 
of the same size, was sold on the seventeenth of May, 

Haymarket Square has a much older date for its 
establishment than the South End Squares; but its 
fountain was erected in 1851. 

The squares at East Boston were established about 
the same time. Maverick Square, containing 22,500 
square feet, of which 4,398 are enclosed within an iron 
fence; Central Square, 49,470 square feet, 32,310 en- 
closed;, and Belmont Square, 10,200 square feet. 


At South Boston, 190,000 feet of Telegraph Hill, 
independent of the reservoir, were enclosed with a fence 
in 1851 and 1852; «.nd Independence Square, between 
Broadway, Second, M, and IN" streets, containing about 
six and a half acres, was established by a vote of the 
Board of Aldermen on the thirtieth of November, 1857. 
A strip of land east of the City Point Primary School- 
House contains 9,510 feet, surrounded with an iron 

All of these public squares are kept in excellent 
condition, under the superintendence of the Committee 
on the Common and Public Squares; and pains are 
taken to make them ornaments to the city, and pleasant 
places of resort for the inhabitants. 



Boston selected as the Seat of the Governor and Company in Consequence of its 
Springs of Water • ■ • The Springs • ■ • The Great Spring in Spring Lane ■ • ■ The 
Ancient Springate, and its Early Residents • • • Blaxton's Spring near Louis- 
burg Square • ■ • Spring Street Spring ■ • • West Hill Spring • • • Other Springs 
. • ■ Boston Mineral Spring in Hawkins Street • • • Thomas Venner's Well, and 
the Old Town Pump in Old Cornhill, 1650 ■ • • The Last Appearance of the 
Old Well ■ • • Origin of the Old Town Pump in Dock Square, 1774 ■ • • Wil- 
liam Franklin's Old Well in 1653 ■ • • Other Old Public Pumps • • • Keservolrs 
• • ■ Jamaica Pond Aqueduct, 1795. 

While the forefathers of the town were temporarily 
seated at Charlestown (the ancient Mishawum of the 
aborigines), and were looking around for a permanent 
settlement, they were considerably distressed for a suffi- 
ciency of pure spring water of easy accessibility. On 
their then small peninsula they had a good situation, as 
far as the site was concerned; for it was in an extremely 
pleasant and salubrious locality, and was nearly sur- 
rounded by an arm of a navigable harbor, and by inlets 
of salt water possessing deep and broad channels. But 
in Charlestown there was a great deficiency, as far as 
could be then known, of the requisite springs of fresh 
water; indeed, there was only one known spring, and 
that aiforded a brackish and insufficient supply, and Avas 
far remote from the settlement, being upon the salt- 
water flats, and only accessible at low tide, and conse- 
quently, giving but a scanty quantity, was a precarious 


reliance. It was in this emergency that Mr. "William 
Blaxton, who had for some time been a resident upon 
the peninsula called by the Charlestown people Tri- 
mountaine, and who had discovered a remarkable spring 
of water there that more than supplied all his needs, 
very generously communicated the information to his 
suffering countrymen across the river, and pressingly 
urged them to take up their abode on his side, upon the 
ancient Shawmut. The solicitations of the reverend 
gentleman prevailed, and soon after the death of Mr. 
Isaac Johnson, one of the most important men of the 
new enterprise, the colonists moved over to Boston, as 
they had named the site of their new town, and com- 
menced the settlement which undoubtedly they consid- 
ered peculiarly well adapted for the beginning of a 
large commercial emporium. 

As the springs induced the Governor and Company 
of the Massachusetts Bay — in other words, the Massa- 
chusetts colony — to make their principal settlement at 
Boston, and as several of them have been noted in 
their day, a few words concerning them may not be 
out of place in the local descriptions attempted in these 

The best loiown of the springs is that which gave 
name to a noted locality, called in the olden time "the 
Springate," but now, and for many years back, designa- 
ted as Spring Lane. Any one who walks through this 
narrow passageway, leading easterly from Washington 
street, will notice on the left-hand side of the lane an 
angle in the sidewalk, exactly opposite the northwest 
corner of a building erected by the Old South society 
for the purpose of a chapel. At this point, in the 
gutter, once stood a wooden piimp, which many of the 


older residents of Boston will well remember. This old 
friend of humanity, with its wooden nose and iron 
handle, stood in a well dug on the site of the spring, 
which had faUed somewhat when the wells of the 
neighboring estates had been sunk, after the locality 
had become thickly settled. The spring was fenced in 
during the early days of the town government, and was 
approached through a gate; and from this originated 
the name of the lane in which it was situated. In later 
times this was designated as the Great Spring, and was 
very noted in its day. iNorth of it was the estate of 
Goodman Thomas Oliver, one of the Elders of the First 
Church, a person held in such esteem by his fellow 
townsmen, that in the year 1646, when horses were for- 
bidden to feed upon the Common, exception was made 
in favor of one horse for him; and, his sons, Ensign 
James Oliver and Sergeant Peter Oliver, were, in 1652, 
" granted liberty to set up a windmill between the town 
and the hill called Fox Hill," the elevation on the Com- 
mon formerly known as Flagstaff HUl. Governor John 
"Winthrop and Mr. William Hibbins, one of the Assist- 
ants, whose wife Mary was executed in 1656 upon the 
Common for witchcraft, and Mr. John Spoore, had their 
house-lots on the south side of the lane. Spoore's estate 
was bounded on the north by the creek that flowed from 
the lane into Oliver's Dock, and on the east . by the 
marsh commonly known as Winthrop's Marsh, which 
extended up into the town as far as the present Devon- 
shire street. This last-named estate in 1671 fell into 
the possession of Mr. John Winslow (brother of Gov- 
ernor Edward Winslow of the Plymouth Colony) and 
his wife Mary Chilton, — she who, coming over in the 
renowned May Flower, in 1620, has the reputation of 


being the first woman who landed upon New England 
soil from that ever memorable vessel which so joyfully 
landed its freight of pilgrims upon Forefather's Eock 
at Plymouth, on the twenty -first of December of the 
same never-to-be-forgotten year. The last-named estate 
is now covered by Minot's building, and has been occu- 
pied many years by printers and type-founders. This 
spring of living water undoubtedly furnished its grateful 
liquid draughts to the parched lips of the first Gover- 
nor, and first ruling elder of Massachusetts, and of Ply- 
mouth's distinguished pilgrim. "When this spring ceased 
to bubble to the surface of the earth in the Springate, 
and when the well received its tributary ofiering, is not 
known; but the wooden pump is well remembered by 
those who in days of yore enjoyed its cooling and re- 
freshing water. During the fall of 1869, while work- 
mien were engaged excavating a cellar for the new post- 
ofi3.ce building on the lot between "Water and Milk 
streets, and facing upon Devonshire street, this old 
spring found an opportunity of escape, and commenced 
anew in discharging the refreshing element, much to 
the annoyance of the builders, who much preferred a 
dry cellar to a free supply of pure water. 

Within the recollection of many of the old residents 
of the westerly slope of Beacon Hill, a large spring 
poured a bountiful supply of water not far from the 
centre of the grass plat in the enclosure of Louisburg 
Square. This was unquestionably the identical spring 
that yielded its benevolence to Mr. Blaxton, and was the 
earliest inducement that led the fathers of the town to 
the peninsula. Until Beacon Hill, or rather that portion 
of it sometimes designated as Mount Yernon, was 
removed, the spring continued to flow, and gave in 


bounteous streams its pure and soft water. It was 
about eighty feet above high- water mark, and in its lat- 
ter days had three outlets. It furnished water for the 
negro washerwomen, who frequented the neighborhood 
of the springs, where they were wont to have their 
cleansing tubs, feeling very little concern whether the 
Jamaica Pond aqueduct should give out or not, or 
whether or not the city should introduce a public supply 
of pure fresh water from any of the neighboring ponds 
or streams. Cochituate Lake and its brick culverts and 
iron pipes and hydrants would have been of little ac- 
count to them, supplied as they were with enough of the 
best and purest water from nature's own well-springs, 
without water rates or taxes. This spring should have 
been preserved, and allowed to flow into basins of 
marble, as a perpetual memorial of William Blaxton, 
and in remembrance of the great act of benevolence 
which gave rise to the capital of ISTew England. 

A spring of considerable consequence used to flow 
on the northwestern side of Spring street, a short dis- 
tance east of Milton street, hence the derivation of the 
name of the street where it was situated. By those who 
formerly supposed Barton's Point to be identical with 
Blaxton's Point, this was considered to be Blaxton's 
Spring. But such was not the case. 

A noted spring, endeared to the famous old punch 
drinkers of the town, was situated just west of West 
Hill, on the shore of Charles River, and only accessible 
at low water. The water from this is said to have had 
special qualities for the manufacture of the once popular 
beverage called punch, and consequently the spring was 
much frequented by the jolly fellows of the town, who in 
days that are past were generally pretty good epicures. 


Elderly persons often speak of other boiling springs 
in the town; and, if tradition can be believed, there were 
springs of this character, one near Fox Hill on the west 
side of the Common, one running from Pemberton Hill, 
the eastern head of Beacon Hill, into Howard street, one 
at the corner of Lynn and Charter streets, one in the 
yard of the Massachusetts General Hospital, one near 
Franklin place, one on the west side of Hancock street, 
and one near the corner of Bath and "Water streets. 
Such of these as ever existed, or continue at times to 
give evidence of past activity, were of very little value, 
and were of no importance in supplying the inhabitants 
with water for domestic purposes. Most of them were 
considered as inconveniences until they disappeared. 

The number of hidden springs, which only came to 
notice as wells were sunk, was very large; and occa- 
sionally great virtues were ascribed to many of them. 
The older inhabitants of Boston can undoubtedly, re- 
member the renowned Hall spring in Hawkins street, 
the famous mineral quality of which was somewhat aug- 
mented one morning, about sixty years ago, and as 
suddenly lost the next day, to the no great annoyance ' 
of its proprietor, and disgust of his patrons, who were 
wont to visit his comfortable seats, and partake of the 
dehcious and rejuvenating beverage of the sulphurous 
spring. The following advertisement, which was pub- 
lished in the l^ew England Palladium on the morning 
of the sixteenth of September, 1808, may recall to mind 
more vividly the remembrance of this once charmed 




" Mr. Hall having taken up his well the last week, and deepened it, 
has the water again ready for public use, and much stronger impregna- 
ted with its mineral quality than before. The water of this well is so 
much like the Ballstown water, that it is considered a good substitute 
in all cases where Ballstown water is useful." 

Unfortunately for the proprietor of the mineral 
spring, a disagreeable story got about, that the well hadi 
lost its mineral qualities and medicinal virtues. The 
source of revenue failed, and in a short time the Boston 
Mineral Spring was almost entirely forgotten, and kept 
only in remembrance by those who had no specially 
good reason for desiring to forget it, and who occasion- 
ally kept it in their minds as a good story of- the uncer- 
tainty of some kinds of earthly riches. 

The first well we have any authentic knowledge of 
in Boston was sunk by Thomas Venner, a cooper, 
whose house-lot was situated on *'the High Street" 
(now Washington street). The order granting per- 
mission for this privilege was passed on the sixteenth 
of March, 1649-50, in the following words: — "Mr. 
-Venner, and the neighbors thereabout, had libertie to 
dig a well and set a pumpe therein neere the shop of 
William Davis, providing without annoyance to the 
street passage for the waste water." If this is the ori- 
gin of the first town pump, the "seven men chosen 
to manage the towne's afiaires " were grossly imposed 
upon by Mr. Yenner; for the old pump, which stood in 
old Cornhill, in the middle of the street, and which was 
removed as late as the early part of the present century, 
was one of the greatest nuisances to the neighborhood 
that could possibly have been tolerated. The pump 
handle kept going from early morning to late night, 


and its music was only interrupted by the clatter of 
the iron cup and its chain against the pump, as from 
time to time they dropped from the hands of those who 
had quenched their thirst with the pure liquid from 
Mr. "Venner's well. Morning sleep was then impossible, 
and early rising no particular virtue. As late as the 
year 1760 the selectmen were instructed to do as they 
might think proper about repairing the Old Town 
Pump in the well; but, after a while it fell into disuse, 
and was removed, and the well covered up so as not 
to be an interruption in the street. This ancient well, 
one of the oldest landmarks of our forefathers, was 
exposed to view on the second of July, 1858, when 
workmen were laying a new drain in "Washington street, 
preparatory to placing in that street the rails of the 
Metropolitan railroad. The well was found dry, owing 
to its being partially filled up with dirt; and after 
the drain was completed, the top of the well was 
closed with large stones and sealed with cement, proba- 
bly never again to be opened to mortal view. A large 
part of its walls was originally laid with stone, but the 
upper part was carefully constructed of brick. Its 
exact position is in the centre of the street, about thirty 
feet north of the northeast corner of Court street. 

Perhaps the reason why the Old Town Pump was 
removed was pretty much the same that is given now- 
a-dayS when improvements are to be made, namely : 
" That there was no need of the old thing " ; and this is 
made apparent when we read the following vote of the 
townsmen, passed a little less than a century ago: — 
" At a meeting of the Freeholders and other inhabitants 
of the Town of Boston duly qualifyed and legally 
warned in publick Town Meeting assembled at Fanuel 


Hall on "Wednesday lOth Day of May 10 o'clock 
Forenoon A. D. 1774," and by adjournment to August 
30th, 10 o'clock," 

" Voted, That the Committee appointed to Consider 
of Ways and means for employing the Poor of this 
Town now out of Business by the opperation of the 
Boston Port Bill, so called, be allowed and empowered 
to make such an agreement with the Petitioners for a 
Well to be dug on Dock Square as said Committee 
may apprehend to be for the advantage of the Town." 

The above quoted vote was the origin of the Town 
Pump, so famous in our younger days; the same that 
stood so long, and was so noted, at the extreme western 
end of the square, at the junction of Washington and 
Brattle streets, and which was removed when the Co- 
chituate water was introduced into Boston in 1848. 

Another ancient pump once stood in a well dug by 
William Franklin and others in 1653, near the King's 
Arms Tavern, which formerly, as early as two centuries 
ago, was the principal place of entertainment in the 
town, and was at the corner of Col. Shrimpton's Lane, 
now called Exchange street. 

Were one inclined, many other noted wells and 
pumps of a public character could be mentioned ; among 
these, one stood in North Square, near the old residence 
of the Mountfort family ; one was on the easterly side of 
Washington street, not far from Castle street; another 
was at the head of State street, near the old State 
House ; another on T Wharf; another on Long Wharf, 
and another on South Market street, near the central 
door. These disappeared like snow before the sun when 
the hydrants were brought into use after the introduc- 


tion of water. After Boston became a city, many large 
reservoirs were dug in the principal squares and broad 
streets, chiefly for containing water for use in case of 
fire. These also fell necessarily into disuse at the same 
time with the public pumps. 

On the twenty-seventh of February, 1795, a com- 
pany was established for supplying the town with pure 
water from Jamaica Pond in Koxbury. The company 
did their best to perform what the inhabitants required, 
but, like the Town Pumps, had to succumb when the 
larger institution prevailed. ' 

In the early days of the town, the people near the 
centre of the peninsula were supplied with water from 
the conduit near Dock Square, and the cows and horses 
fronj a pond at the south part of the town in the present 
Bedford street. 



The First Attempt to introduce Water into Boston • • • A Conduit Suggested by 
Capt. Robert Keayne in 1649 • • • Keayne's Bequests, 1653 • • • Capt. William 
Tyng's Grant to Everell and Scottow in 1649, confirmed in 1656 • • • Conduit 
up in 1652, and incorporated • • • Description of the Conduit • • • Its Situation 
• • • Conduit street • • • Uses of the Conduit • • • Great Fire of 1679 • • • Sur- 
roundings of the Old Conduit • • • Old Sun Tavern • • • Bight of Leogan 
Old'Hancock House in Corn Court • • • Old Fish Market ■ • • Swing Bridge 
Triangular Warehouse • • • Eoebuck Passage • • • Old Feather Store • . . Old 
Museum • • • Elephant Tavern • • . Draw Bridge • • • Golden Candlestick • • 
Sign of the Key • • • Scottow's Alley • • • Union Stone • • ■ Boston Stone • • 
Mill Bridge • • • Star Tavern • • • Green Dragon Tavern • • • Old Franklin House. 

Notwithstanding the numerous springs which poured 
but water in various parts of the town, the good people 
in the olden time were so illy provided with this neces- 
sary element, that very soon after the settlement of the 
peninsula resort was had to artificial means for obtain- 
ing a more plentiful supply of this important and much 
needed article. Among the most noted of the early at- 
tempts for procuring water for the daily use of the 
towns-people was the conduit, a very singular contriv- 
ance, but one which answered a very good purpose in 
the limited space in which its benevolence was experi- 
enced. Most persons who have read the accounts of 
the old town have undoubtedly noticed allusions to this 
structure, but few have been able to form a definite idea 
of this early handiwork of the enterprising forefathers 


of the town, or been fortunate enough to designate upon 
the map its exact position. 

If the early constructed wells are excepted, the an- 
cient conduit may be justly said to have been the first 
attempt towards introducing water works in the town, 
and had its origin in the early necessities of the towns- 
men. The want of something of the kind had become 
so evident as early as the year 1649, that the subject of 
a public conduit had been mooted in the town, and Cap- 
tain Robert Keayne, of the Artillery Company, had 
made certain provisions for the establishment of such a 
contrivance in a will written that year, but subsequently 
superseded by the voluminous instrument of one hun- 
dred and fifty-eight recorded pages, executed on the 
twenty-eighth of December, 1653, and proved on the 
second of May, 1656, he having died on the twenty- 
third day of the preyious March of the last-mentioned 
year. This remarkable individual in his curious docu- 
ment used the following language: "Haveing beene 
trained up in Military Discipline from my young'' 
yeares, & haveing endeavoured to promote it the best I 
could since Grod hath brought me into this country [in 
1635], & seeing he hath beene pleased to use me as a 
poore Instrument to lay the foundation of that I^oble 
Society of the Artillery Company in this place, that 
hath so far prospered by the blessing of God, as to 
helpe many with good experience in the vse of their 
armes, ... I shall desire to be buryd as a Souldier in 
a Military way." After providing for his family, he sets 
apart the sum of two hundred pounds for any man or 
woman, in Old England or "New, who could make it 
justly appear that he had unjustly wronged them. He 
made bequests for a market house, a conduit (a good 


help in danger of fire), conveniences for the courts, 
commissioners and townsmen; a room for a library, a 
gallery for the elders, an armory, a room for divines, 
scholars, merchants, shipmen, strangers and townsmen, 
and many other things, according to his strange fancy. 
If the town should slight or imdervalue his gift for the 
conduit and other " buildings," then his money, and the 
books he proposed for the library, were to go for the 
sole use of the College at Cambridge. WhUe it is cer- 
tain that Captain Keayne's books did not go to found 
the library, — for that good act was left to be performed 
by Mayor Bigelow two hundred years later, — it is un- 
doubtedly true that the conduit had its origin in the 
provision of the Captain's will; for it appears that in 
the year 1649, during his lifetime, Mr. William Tyng, a 
wealthy and distinguished townsman of Boston, and 
subsequently of Braintree, gave certain rights and priv- 
ileges to Messrs. James Everell and Joshua Scottow, 
and their associates, in a certain estate, " with free lib- 
erty to dig, find out, erect and set up one fountain, well, 
head spring, or more, within his land or pasture ground, 
situate, lying and being on the westerly side of his then 
dwelling-house in Boston aforesaid, as also from said 
well or wells, fountain or fountains, to dig or trench 
through said pasture ground, to lay down such pipes 
or water--v\'ork conveyances as should be necessary for 
the carrying or conveying of water from the aforesaid 
fountain or fountains, well or wells, unto such place as 
the said neighborhood and company shall see conven- 
ient for the erecting of a conduit or water works." Mr. 
Tyng died on the eighteenth of January, 1652-3, and 
subsequently the grant was confirmed by the trustees of 
his children, on the twenty-ninth of April, 1656. It is 


certain that the conduit was " set up " in March, 1652, 
for at that time the townsmen voted that Mr. James 
Everell and the neighbors should have one of the bells 
which were given to the town by Captain Crumwell for 
a clock, and enjoy while they make use of it there. In 
1652, at the May session of the General Court of the 
Colony, on petition of the inhabitants of " Conduite 
Streete in Boston,"' the water- works company was in- 
corporated for buUding the conduit, and provisions were 
made for the use of the water in case of fire. 

From what has been stated, it would appear that the 
conduit was a large reservoir, about twelve feet square, 
made for holding water, conveyed to it by pipes leading 
from neighboring wells and springs, for the purpose of 
extinguishing fires and supplying the inhabitants dwell- 
ing near it with water for domestic purposes. Over the 
reservoir was a wooden building in the olden time, used 
for storage purposes; but in more modern days the old, 
building was removed, and the conduit covered with 
plank, raised in the centre about two feet, and sloping 
to the sides like a hipped roof. On Saturdays, this plat- 
form was used as a stand for a meal market, which was 
as noted in its day as the hay-stand in Haymarket 
Square is at the present time. As it stood in the very 
old times with Captaiu Crumwell's bell, it must have 
been one of the most remarkable of the ancient land- 
marks of the town. 

This strange construction was situated in a square 
formed by the junction of "Wing's lane (now Elm 
street) and Union street, in the neighborhood of the 
present ^N'orth street, and a short distance from Dock 
Square. The street leading from the Conduit to the 
Draw Bridge, placed over the Mill Creek (now the site 



of Blackstone street), was one of the first highways 
laid out by the early settlers of the town, and was for a 
long time known as Conduit street, because the propri- 
etors of the conduit owned an estate on the north side 
of the street, about where the old building stands, now 
occupied by Joseph Breck and Son as an agricultural 
warehouse, and which was in the early part of the 
present century the next east of the old Boston Mu- 
seum, where so many curious and rare objects used to 
be exhibited; and one side of which, at no very distant 
date, was bounded by an open lane or passage-way, 
which contained a water convenience that may be re- 
membered by persons who lived in the neighborhood 
only fifty years ago as the conduit, — a name which was 
given to it by the boys, who had probably heard of the 
old reservoir of 1652; and on the east of this lane was 
the old Elephant Tavern of bygone days. The exact 
position of the conduit is marked out on John Bonner's 
plan of the town, engraved in 1722, and has been 
pointed out by antiquaries as being near where the 
present ^North street and Market Square join Union 
street, just west of the " Old Feather Store," which was 
taken down between the tenth and thirteenth of July, 
1860, to the great regret of many who delighted in 
looking upon that well-preserved specimen of the build- 
ings of the first fifty years of the town's history. Old 
Conduit street, which was sometimes called Draw Bridge 
street, lost its name in 1708, and the way from the con- 
duit in Union street over the bridge to EUiston's corner, 
lower end of Cross street, was named Ann street, in 
honor of good Queen Anne of blessed memory, just as 
Union street took its name at the same time in commem- 
oration of the great British union. 


The old conduit never fulfilled the expectations of 
those who devised and built it; and its traces have so 
entirely disappeared, that not a single vestige of it can 
be found, and only an occasional mention of the street 
that bore its name, and of the old estate alluded to, is 
all that can be found concerning it in the ancient town 
books and in the records of the conveyances of land in 
Suffolk Records. 'No digging in the street for the lay- 
ing of drains or sewers has, within the remembrance of 
persons now living, shown any of its remains; although 
it was well remembered in its last condition by the old 
persons who have recently passed away. 

With the exception of the companies for iron works 
in various parts of the colony, this establishment was 
one of the earliest incorporations for private purposes in 
Massachusetts; and it undoubtedly was of some service 
on washing days, and at times of " scathfiers " in the 
neighborhood. On the occasion of the great fire of 
the eighth of August, 1679, it was put to especial use, 
and undoubtedly did much to save the property situated 
north and west of it, although all the business part of 
the town south of it, from the old feather store corner 
to Mackerel Bridge near Liberty Square, was completely 
destroyed by the raging element. 

The site of the old conduit was, until the recent im- 
provements at the South End and on the Back Bay 
Lands, in the centre of the town;, and probably there 
were more matters of interest within a minute's walk 
from it than from any other point on the peninsula. 
Just south of it, a few steps, was the westerly termina- 
tion of the Old Dock, now filled up, but which extended 
to the buildings forming the western boundary of Market 
Square; and this separated it from the old " Sun Tavern,'^ 


at the corner of Dock Square and the old Com Market, 
favorably Imown the past sixty years as the grocery 
store of the famous George Murdock, and of his succes- 
sor, "Wellington. Taking a course around the conduit 
as a centre, next came the renowned " Bight of Leo- 
gan," late the Bite Tavern of James M. Stevens, and 
farther on " Col. Fitch's Lane," known better as Flagg 
alley or Change avenue, with its narrow passageway, 
" Damnation Alley," behind Dr. l^oyes's old apothecary 
shop, lately renewed by "William Read as a gun store. 
Then came Corn Court, with the " Hancock House," in 
which it is said Louis Philippe tarried while he made 
his short abode ia Boston during the French Keign of 
Terror. Between these and the Dock formerly stood 
Palmer's warehouse, which gave way to Faneuil Hall 
and the " Old Fish Market " j and east of these was the 
" Swing Bridge " over the street that led to Ann street, 
passing by the "Old Triangular Warehouse," at the 
corner of !N^orth Market street and the ancient " Roe- 
buck Passage," which was so narrow that only one team 
could pass through it at a time, and which often pre- 
sented the curious scene between teamsters, made com- 
mon by the custom of tossing a copper to see which 
should back out for the other. Between the conduit 
and the Eoebuck Passage were the " Old Feather Store," 
the "Old Boston Museima," and the "Elephant Tavern" 
already alluded to; and not far from these was the 
" Old Draw Bridge " in Ann street over the Mill Creek, 
which gave way in 1659 when the crowd returned from 
the Common after the hanging of the Quakers. East- 
erly, in old " Ann street," between the conduit and the 
Draw Bridge, will be remembered Samuel "Whitwell's 
"Golden Candlestick" at the corner of Union street 


and William Homes's " Key," and the crooked old arch- 
way over Scottow's alley that led to Creek Square and 
Hatters' Square. In tJnion street to the northeast the 
memory wiU extend to the " Union Stone " near At- 
wood's Oyster House, and to the "Bpston Stone" at the 
corner of the old building that used to stand in " Mar- 
shall's Lane." In Hanover street the " Mill Bridge," a 
stone arch, the old " Star Tavern " at the northeasterly 
corner of Union and Hanover streets, the ancient 
" Green Dragon Tavern " in North Union street, and 
the old "Tallow Chandler House," more generally 
known as the "Blue Ball," on the corner of Union 
street, in which the parents of Franklin dwelt the last 
years of their lives, and in which the great Bostonian 
passed his boyhood, and which was demolished on 
the tenth of IN'ovember, 1858, and its site turned into 
the street, will not soon be forgotten. These, with in- 
numerable other objects of interest, will occur to any 
one who retraces the steps of his younger days in pass- 
ing around this noted neighborhood. Each of these 
could furnish a chapter of interesting reminiscences, 
and some of them could awaken memories of the 
past connected with the most important era in our 
national history. 



The Town's Watering Place in Pond street, now Bedford street • • • Its Site ■ • • 
Attempts to have it filled up • • . Its Sale in 1753 to David Wheeler • • • First 
Mention of it in the Book of Possessions, 1643 • • • Estates Contigaoas to it 
• . • Size of the Pond Lot • . • The Eowe Estate • • • Avon Place ■ • ■ Owners of 
the Pond Lot • • • Swamps and Marshes • • • Jamaica Pond Aqueduct • • ■ Aque- 
duct Company incorporated in 1795 • • • Location of the Logs, and Extent of 
Supply of Water • • • The Lake Cochituate Water Act Passed 1846 • • • Water 
Introduced into Boston in 1848 • • • Mystic Water Introduced into East Bos- 
ton, January, 1870, 

Exclusive of the ponds on the Common, there were, 
two hundred years ago, two other ponds so called; but 
both of them have now disappeared forever. One of 
these was formed by natural causes, and was coexistent 
with the town; while the other, a work of human art, 
had its origiu in the exigencies of the early settlers of 
the peninsula. The latter of these, the Old Mill Pond, 
made by the building of the Old ]N"orth Causeway, has 
been sufficiently described in a former chapter; the for- 
mer, the old watering place, is worthy of a short notice. 
The natural pond was of very small size; but its 
water is said to have been of considerable purity for 
such a location as it possessed, and was much valued by 
the townsmen of the olden time, who took good care of 
it, it being, as the old records styled it, the "Town's 
watering place for their cattle." Although this ancient 
convenience, which our forefathers enjoyed, has been 


destroyed, and no vestige of it left, yet its position is 
distinctly noted on the oldest map of the town, — Bon- 
ner's plan, as it is called, published by "William Price in 
1722. It was on the northerly side of Pond street, 
which took its name from this circumstance, and which, 
in February, 1821, took the name of Bedford Street, in 
honor of the late Jeremiah Fitch, Esq., one of the last 
Board of Selectmen, whose family had a summer resi- 
dence in the town of that name; and its exact site was 
a short distance west of the meeting-house occupied by 
the society of the Second Congregational Church, now 
under the ministry of Rev. Chandler Kobbins, D. D., 
and nearly opposite the Latin school-house. 

Tradition, passed down from the early inhabitants, 
would lead to the inference that this pond was the con- 
venience chiefly used for the cattle, and that cows and 
horses were driven to it from great distances in the 
town. This may be true, for the nearest public pump, a 
hundred years ago, was farther from it on the north 
than State street, and there was no accommodation 
south of it belonging to the town. The spring in Spring 
Lane was undoubtedly used somewhat for the same pur- 
pose, and the ponds on the Common were chiefly for the 
supply of the cattle that pastured there. 

In course of time the pond became a great trouble 
to the families in its immediate neighborhood, and mo- 
tions were made by the inhabitants to have it filled up, 
and the Selectmen were required to consider the subject; 
but no satisfaction could be obtained from this body, 
further than the following opinion, which was ventured 
by them on the second of May, 1739 : " That it is with 
the town to give leave for filling up the said pond if 
they see fit, and we are of opinion it may be convenient 


to have it so done accordingly." iN'othing resulted from 
this opinion, except renewed efforts for getting it out of 
the possession of the town; and with this view Mr. Ben- 
jamin Church, a land-owner in the vicinity of it, peti- 
tioned the town, on the fourth of May, 1743, that it 
might be granted to him; but the town refused the re- 
quest. Again, in the year 1753, David "Wheeler, who 
owned the estate just west of it on the main street 
(then !N^ewbury street), petitioned, requesting that he 
might be allowed to hire or purchase the same; and 
the matter was referred to a committee to examine into 
the condition of the pond, and ascertain what encroach- 
ments had been made upon it. The committee subse- 
quently reported that the pond, so called, was a nuis- 
ance, and recommended that it be sold to help pay Mr. 
Dolbeare a debt owiug him, he having erected certain 
buildings near the town dock for the benefit of the 
town; and on the fifteenth of May, 1753, the freeholders 
and other inhabitants in town meetiiig accepted the re- 
port, and voted to sell the land on which the pond was 
situated, which was done at public auction, on the 
twenty-seventh of the following August, to Mr. David 
Wheeler, blacksmith, for fifty-one pounds ia lawful 

The first mention of " the watering place " is to be 
found in the " Book of Possessions," which contains an 
inventory of the landed property of the real estate 
owners in Boston, as it was held by them about the year 
1643. This book, which is carefully preserved among 
the city archives, had its origin in an order passed by 
the General Court of the Colony, on the ninth of Sep- 
tember, 1639, and complied with imperfectly by the 
town about the years 1643 and 1644. At this early 


date, the land in which the pond was situated was at 
the then southerly part of the town, abutting southerly 
on the south lane leading to Fort Hill, then known as 
the Pond street, and fronting the estate of Mr. Robert 
Woodward, a carpenter, who had his house and work- 
shop upon his lot, which extended westerly to the High 
street (now "Washington street). "Westerly the pond 
lot was bounded by the estates of Mr. Thomas "Wheeler 
and Mr. William Blantaine, and northerly by the estate 
of Mr. Blantaine, — the easterly boundary being open 
land or highway between the pond and the estate of Mr. 
John "V^iall. 

In 1753, the time the estate was purchased by Mr. 
"Wheeler, the lot was very small, containing less than 
one-ninth of an acre, and measured southerly on Pond 
street (now Bedford street) only forty-seven feet. 
"Westerly it measured one hundred and eight feet, partly 
on the estate of the heirs of Samuel Adams, Esq., and 
partly on land of Mr. Benjamin Church ; northerly 
forty-six feet on the same estate of Mr. Church ; and 
easterly ninety-four feet in part on land of Mr. Church, 
and partly on land of Mr. Robert Thompson, 

The estate on the east of the pond, which, in 1753, 
belonged to Mr. Thompson, was purchased by him of 
Mr. Benjamin Church in 1742, and, in 1764, was sold to 
Mr. John Rowe (the person who gave name to Rowe's 
Pasture), and his heirs sold a large portion of it to Hon. 
William Prescott on the thirty-first of May, 1817. The 
Prescott heirs conveyed their portion of the estate, in 
1845, to Hon. Henry B. Rogers, for the Church of the 
Saviour, then under the ministry of Rev. Mr. Water- 
stonj and on the easterly portion of which his congre- 
gation erected the meeting-house now occupied by the 



society of which Dr. Eobbias is the pastor. On the 
northerly part of the Prescott lot now stands a large 
brick dwelling-house, and immediately west of this was 
the Old Pond, the Town's Watering Place, or "Wheeler's 
Pond, just as any one pleased to call it. The two lots 
on the west of the Pond lot extended to the High 
street, as it was called, and have been divided and sub- 
divided many times, until they now number many inde- 
pendent estates. The portion of Mr. Church's land on 
the rear was, in the year 1818, in connection with other 
estates, laid out into Avon place, chiefly through the 
instrumentaUty of the late Charles Ewer, Esq. This 
place has recently, by an order passed in 1867, been ex- 
tended into Chauncy street, and now with Temple place 
forms a continuous avenue to Tremont street. 

Mr. Wheeler did not destroy the pond when he 
bought the estate, but probably kept it many years in 
the condition in which it was when he received it. He 
died on the twentieth of September, 1770, giving his 
wife Hepzibah a life estate in the property, and pro- 
viding that at her decease two-thirds of it should go to 
his son David, and the other third to his daughter Sa- 
rah, the wife of Jonathan Jones, a hatter. Ooodwife 
Wheeler died in January, 1773; and David Wheeler, 
the son, also a blacksmith, as his father had been, died 
on the sixth of August, 1772, and his third wife, Dorcas, 
survived him, together with his daughter Elizabeth by 
his first wife, Elizabeth Davis, This daughter died un- 
married on the first of December, 1808, and the Pond 
estate passed into the possession of her aunt Sarah 
Jones, who with her husband ^Jonathan Jones and her 
maiden daughter Nancy conveyed the estate by qixit- 
claira deeds in 1809 and 1811 to their daughter Hepzi- 


bah Jones. Hepzibah, in turn, on the thirtieth of July, 
1830, quitclaimed her right in the estate to Eichard 
Dewerson, a weU-kuown ingenious mechanic, who died 
not long ago: 

The long continued interest that the early Wheelers 
had in this estate, it being contiguous to the possession 
of the earliest of the name long before David became 
the purchaser, gave to the pond the name of "Wheeler's 
Pond; and by this designation it was most generally 
known during the last half century of its continuance. 
It has not been known to supply water within the mem- 
ory of any person living, although there are many per- 
sons now on the stage of life who think that they can 
remember skating on this pond during their early years. 
Be this as it may, it is certain that the boys of fifty years 
ago used in winter to gain access, through a passage- 
way leading from Washington street, not far from the 
present Avon place, to a small plat of ice, which was 
situated not far from the back part of Mr. Wheeler's 

With this pond disappeared all that could be called 
a natural pond on the peninsula; for there is no evi- 
dence whatever that the Fro_g Pond on the Common 
was ever anything more than a marshy bog transformed 
into an artificial pond by the industry and labor of the 
older townsmen. Similar places were in other parts of 
the town, and it would be an omission, deserving of 
being considered a fault, were no mention made of the 
most memorable of the swamps or bogs which were once 
to be noticed in Boston, and some of which can well be 
reinembered by the old people now living in the city. 
The most noted of these were in places now perfectly 
dry, and so well guarded as to defy the scrutiny of the 


most profound geologist to point out their locality from 
any present indications. A very noted one occupied a 
large space south of the Public Library building, be- 
tween Boylston street and Eliot street, its central part 
being where Yan Rensselaer place now is. Another 
covered the territory of Franklin place, extending from 
Hawley street^ nearly to AtMnson street; and a third, 
nearly contiguous to the last named, was situated where 
the southerly end of Devonshire street now is, a little 
north of Summer street. Where the estates lie between 
Eowe place and Kingston street was another, which was 
formerly a part of the large field known as Rowe's Pas- 
ture; and on this spot a noted antiquarian writer has 
been known to have shot a killdee not far from the com- 
mencement of the present century. At the South End, 
marshes were on each side of the main street, especially 
in the neighborhood of !N^orthampton street; and at the 
"West End, between McLean, Allen and Blossom streets, 
was a considerable swamp, the remembrance of which 
has not entirely passed away. Unquestionably there 
were other low places of a marshy character, but those 
mentioned above are the most known. 

Before quitting the subject of water, it may not per- 
haps be amiss to say a few words about the Jamaica 
Pond aqueduct, which at the early part of the present 
century supplied so large a portion of the inhabitants of 
the south part of Boston with fresh water for domestic 
use. On the twenty-seventh of February, 1795, Gov- 
ernor Samuel Adams approved an act of the General 
Court, whereby Luther Fames, ISfathan Bond and Wil- 
liam Page, and their associates, were vested with cor- 
porate powers for the management and direction of the 
business, as a company, of bringing fresh water into the 


town of Boston by subterraneous pipes; and, by a sub- 
sequent act, passed on the tenth of June, 1796, this cor- 
poration was empowered to assume the appellation of 
" The Aqueduct Corporation." The corporation was 
authorized "to bring from any part of the town of 
Eoxbury into the town of Boston, and into any street in 
the same town, all such fresh water as they, the said 
Luther Eames, !N^athan Bond, and William Page, and 
their associates, or any, or either of them, in their 
private and natural capacities" then had or hereafter 
should " have a right to dispose of, or to convey from 
the springs or sources thereof." The act gave power 
also to open the ground in any of the streets or high- 
ways in Eoxbury and Boston as should be required for 
the sinMng of the water pipes, but with very prudent 
provisions, which prevented the aqueduct from becom- 
ing a nuisance, or impairing any right of the town of 
Koxbiu-y or any of its inhabitants in and to the waters 
of Jamaica Pond. The corporation could hold only 
$33,000 in real estate, and the water works were to be 
divided into one hundred shares. The price of water 
was to be regulated by the General Court, the towns of 
Boston and Eoxbury were to have the privilege of hy- 
drants for extinguishing fires, and the first meeting was 
to be called by Hon. James Sullivan upon the proper 
application of the persons named in the act. On the 
twenty-second of June, 1803, an additional act was 
passed to facilitate the operations of the corporation. 
The capital of this company, as far as can be ascertained, 
was about |130,OJ30, or about $1,300 to a share, which 
became much depreciated in value. "No dividends were 
made during the first ten years after the commencement 
of the works, and subsequently the average of the divi- 


dends for thirty years amounted only to a fraction less 
than four per cent a year. When the aqueduct was in 
its greatest prosperity, it supplied about fifteen hundred 
houses with water, chiefly at the South End, and in the 
neighborhood of Summer and Essex streets, and of Pleas- 
ant and Charles streets. The water was brought from 
Jamaica Pond in Koxbury through four main pipes of 
pitch pine logs, two of four inches bore, and two of 
three inches, the lateral pipes having a bore of one and 
a half inches. The lineal extent of- the water pipes in 
Boston was about fifteen mUes, and they extended north 
as far as Franklin street, and branched off easterly 
through Harrison avenue into Congress street nearly to 
State street, and to Broad street. They also branched 
off westerly through Pleasant and Charles streets, ex- 
tending as far as the Massachusetts General Hospital, 
which was supplied with Jamaica Pond water. With 
comparatively a very small outlay, the aqueduct could 
have increased its benevolence in a tenfold ratio, and 
this the corporation desired to do, but was prevented by 
the citizens, who, on the twelfth of April, 1846, by ac- 
cej)ting an act of the legislature, passed thirtieth of 
March, 1846, voted to introduce water from Cochituate 
Pond (then called Long Pond), iu I^atick, Framingham 
and Wayland, on a much more extensive plan; and 
ground was broken at Wayland for the purpose on the 
twentieth of August following; and the water intro- 
duced on Boston Common through the tall fountain in 
the Frog Pond on the twenty-fifth of October, 1848, to 
the great joy of the advocates of the measure, and also 
with the greatest acceptation of those who had consci- 
entiously opposed the proposed plan of introduction at 
the inception of the enterprise. On the establishment 


of the Cochituate Water "Worts, of course, all minor 
institutions of the kind had to yield way, and the old 
Jamaica Pond Aqueduct ceased to he of any special use 
either to owners or the puhlic, and was consequently 
discontinued, leaving its more powerful rival a full pos- 
session of the field. 

Since the annexation of the city of Eoxbury, prudence 
and a foresight of the future requirements of Boston has 
induced the city to make arrangements for supplying 
East Boston and the pubUc institutions at Deer Island 
with water from Mystic Pond; consequently an agree- 
ment was made with the city of Charlestown for this 
purpose, and water was let into the pipes leading to 
East Boston on the first of January, 1870, and from this 
date the inhabitants derive their supply of pure water 
through Charlestown from an extensive and undoubtedly 
never-failing source. 



Early Attempts for a Bridge, 1720 ••• Charles River Bridge, opened 1786 ••• 
Description of the Bridge- •• West Boston Bridge, opened 1793. ..Free 
from Toll 1858 • • • CanalBridge, opened 0.809 • • • Prison Point Bridge • • • Bos- 
ton South Bridge, opened 1805 ■ • • Name changed to Dover Street Bridge in 

1857 ■•• Mill dam, or Western Avenue, opened 1821, and made free 8 
December, 1868 • • • South Boston Free Bridge, now Federal Street Bridge, 
opened 1828 • • • Warren Bridge, opened 1828, entirely free A:om Tolls 

1858 • • . Chelsea Free Bridge, now Chelsea Street Bridge, opened 1834, 
rebuilt 1848 • • ■ East Boston Free Bridge, now Meridian Street Bridge, com- 
pleted in 1855 ■ . • Chelsea Point Bridge, opened 1839 • • • Mount Washington 
Avenue Bridge, opened in 1856 • • • Broadway Bridge, 1869 • - ■ Contemplated 
Bridges •■■ Maiden Bridge, 1787, free 1859 ••• Chelsea Bridge, 1802, free 
1869 • • . Old Ferries. 

In" the olden time, and for a long number of years after 
the settlement of Boston, there was only one carriage 
entrance to the town, and that was through Roxbury 
and over the [N^eck. Although very early ia the last 
century, in 1720, there had been some thoughts about 
connecting Charlestown with Boston by means of a 
bridge, there was no actual advance towards the accom- 
plishment of such a design until about the year 1785, 
when the townsmen seem to have aroused themselves 
on this subject, and came to the determiuation that a 
bridge should be buUt connecting the north part of the 
town with the neighboring peninsula of Charlestown. 
The bridge in question was to extend from Prince street 
in Boston to a street in Charlestown leading northerly 


to the main square of that town. At the same time 
another bridge, which should connect Cambridge with 
Boston, was also talked of, to reach from Barton's 
Point, at the northwesterly end of Leverett street, to 
Lechmere Point, now known as East Cambridge. Both 
of these bridges were subsequently built. 

The Charles Eiver Bridge Company was incorpo- 
rated on the ninth of March, 1785, by an act of the 
General Court, granted to Hon. John Hancock, Thomas 
Eussell, Ifathaniel Gorham, James Swan and Eben Par- 
sons, Esquires, and their associates; and they were em- 
powered to build the bridge and receive certain tolls, 
which were to be double on the Lord's day for the term of 
forty years, commencing on the day of the first opening 
of the bridge for passengers; and they were required to 
build the bridge forty feet wide, with a draw at least 
thirty feet wide; and to pay annually to Harvard Col- 
lege the sum of two hundred pounds in compensation 
for the annual income of the Boston and Charlestown 
Ferry, which the college might have received had not 
said bridge been erected. On the ninth of March, 1792, 
in consequence of a charter granted to another bridge 
to cross the same Charles River, the term for taking toll 
was extended thirty additional years under the same 
conditions, and the double toll on the Lord's day was 
required to be rehnquished, and a single toll only ex- 
acted, as on secular days. Preparations for building 
were immediately commenced; an architect. Major Sam- 
uel Sewall, and a master workman, Mr. Cox, appointed, 
and the stock, consisting of one hundred and fifty shares, 
the par value of each of which was one hundred pounds, 
was assessed and collected, making the capital of the 
company fifteen thousand pounds. The first pier of the 



bridge was laid on the fourteenth of June, 1785, the last 
on the thirty-first of May, 1786, and the bridge, 1,503 
feet long, was opened for public travel, with considerable 
parade and ceremony, on the seventeenth of June fol- 
lowing, the bridge having been built in about one year's 
time. The bridge was built forty-two feet wide, upon 
seventy-five piers, each composed of seven oaken tim- 
bers; and four soUd wharves and buttresses were laid 
with stone in different parts of the stnicture, to 
strengthen and sustaui the wooden piers. It had on 
each side a passage-way of six feet railed in for safety, 
and was lighted at night by forty lamps in lanterns 
mounted upon posts. 

The opening of the bridge took place on the 
Charlestown hohday, — the anniversary of the battle of 
Bunker Hill, — and was attended with the greatest en- 
thusiasm, and with the usual parade and festivities. At 
dawn of day thu'teen guns, the number of the confeder- 
ated States, were fired from Gopp's HiU in Boston, and 
from Bunker Hill in Charlestown, as a Federal salute, 
and the bells in both towns were rung, as now on the 
Fourth of July, and the peal of bells belonging to 
Christ Church joined in with their musical chimes. A 
large procession of the proprietors. State officials, town 
officers and notables of the town, was formed at the Old 
State House; and, when the time came for its moving, 
another Federal salute was given from the Castle, and 
one from Copp's Hill as the cortege arrived at the draw 
of the bridge. The number of persons present was im- 
mense for the time, supposed to be equal in number to 
the total population of the two towns. The draw was 
fixed by the master workman, and the procession passed 
over it under salute. When the retinue arrived in 


Charlestown, it passed through the great square, and 
took its course towards the renowned hill where the 
battle was fought eleven years previous, and was there 
received with another salute of thirteen guns, and a din- 
ner was served in great style to about eight hundred 
persons, who were seated at two tables of three hundred 
feet each in length, united by a semi-circle, and who re- 
mained in festivity untU six o'clock in the evening. The 
joy on this occasion was unbounded, and it is said that 
the arrangements on that day far surpassed any that 
had ever been known in the neighborhood before. 

From being private property, Charles Kiver bridge 
subsequently became the property of the State; and 
after being made passable for a time without toll, and 
then with a toll, finally a sum of money was obtained 
for keeping it in repair, and it has been opened as a 
perfectly free bridge, without any expectation or reason 
that the public will ever again be inflicted with a toll for 
passing over it either on foot or in carriages. 

A company for building "West Boston bridge, more 
generally known as Cambridge bridge, which extended 
from the point of land at the westerly part of the town, 
where formerly stood the Pest House, over Charles 
Kiver to PeUiam's Island (so called) in Cambridgeport, 
was incorporated on the ninth of March, 1792. The 
persons named in the act were, Hon. Francis Dana, 
Hon. Oliver Wendell, Hon. James Sullivan, and Henry 
Jackson, Mungo Mackay, and William Wetmore, Es- 
quires. The act of incorporation required that the. 
bridge should be at least forty feet wide, with side- 
railings, lamps, a sufficient draw, a watch-house near the 
draw, the proper signboards, and a good road from Pel- 
ham's Island to the nearest part of the Cambridge road. 


Suitable tolls were established, and the proprietors were 
to pay anmially to Harvard College the sum of three 
hundred pounds duriag the term of forty years for de- 
fraying the expenses of indigent scholars. On the 
thirtieth of June, 1792, another act was passed by the 
legislature, establishing the term of continuance as a 
corporation to be seventy years, and reducing the 
amount to be paid to the college to two hundred 
pounds. After this various acts were passed in relation 
to the bridge, empowering the corporation to make 
and maintain canals, to change the appropriation to 
the college so that it could be applied for the support of 
two tutors, and for other purposes. The causeway 
leading to the bridge was commenced on the jBfteenth of 
July, 1792, and the wood work was begun on the eighth 
of the following February. The way for travel was 
opened on the twenty-third of ISTovember, 1793, in the 
short space of seven and a half months from the time of 
driving the first pier. The sides of the causeway were 
laid with stones, and on each side was a canal about 
thirty feet in width. The wooden part of the bridge 
when built was about 3,483 feet in length, and was sup- 
por(ed by one hundred and eighty piers. The estimated 
cost of the structure, together with the causeway and 
canals, was about twenty-three thousand pounds, legal 
money ; and the principal undertaker for the work was 
a Mr. Z. Whiting, who performed it under the superin- 
tendence of Messrs. Mungo Mackay and Henry Pren- 
tiss. The corporation of this bridge seems to have 
had much to contend with ; for, in the year 1796, very 
great efibrts were made to construct a bridge which 
should extend from Boston to Pierpont's Farm in Rox- 
bury, a project that entirely failed. Subsequently the 


Canal bridge, the "Western avenue (or Mill-dam), and 
"Warren bridge were built, to the great injury of the 
West Boston bridge j but the granting of the acts of 
incorporation to the proprietors of the Hancock Free 
bridge on the sixteenth of April, 1836, on the four- 
teenth of April, 1837, and on the twenty-sixth of 
March, 1846, completely discouraged the proprietors, 
and they were glad enough to sell out their franchise, 
and voted so to do on the twenty-fourth. of June, 1846, 
to the Hancock Free Bridge Corporation, who by their 
act of 1846 were empowered to purchase the bridge, 
and also the Canal bridge, or to build a new one, from 
Allen street in Boston, to some convenient point in 
Cambridge, between the two bridges already built. 
Canal bridge was also bought by the same corporation, 
who of course did not build the new bridge • but on the 
thirtieth of January, 1858, the last toll was collected 
from the Cambridge bridges, and on the first of Feb- 
ruary a great demonstration of rejoicing at the freedom 
of the bridges was made by the city authorities and 
people of Cambridge. 

The Canal Bridge Company, alluded to above, was 
incorporated on the twenty-seventh of February, 1807, 
and Cragie's bridge, 2,796 feet in length, extending 
from Barton' s Point, at the northwesterly end of Lev- 
erett street, to Lechmere's Point at East Cambridge, 
was opened for passengers on Commencement Day, the 
thirtieth of August, 1809. The corporators named in the 
act were Messrs. John Coffin Jones, Loammi Baldwin, 
Aaron Dexter, Benjamin Weld, Joseph Coolidge, Jr., 
Benjamin Joy, Gorham Parsons, Jonathan. Ingersol, 
John Beach,. Abijah Cheever, William B. Hutchins, 
Stephen Howard and Andrew Cragie. The capital 


stock consisted of twelve hundred shares, and the 
bridge was to be built from the Almshouse fence in 
Boston to Barren's Point in Charlestown. The term of 
continuance of the charter was seventy years. This 
bridge connects with Charlestown by means of Prison 
Point bridge, the length of which is 1,821 feet. The 
purchase of this bridge in July, 1846, for $60,00Q, and 
the West Boston bridge for $75,000, led to a termina- 
tion of tolls on the Boston bridges in 1858. 

The company of the Boston South bridge was in- 
corporated on the sixth of March, 1804. The bridge 
when first erected was 1,551 feet in length, and was 
opened for the accommodation of the public on the first 
of October, 1805. It is now known as Dover street 
bridge, the name having been adopted by the City 
Council in 1857. The corporators under the act were 
Messrs. William Tudor, Gardiner Greene, Jonathan 
Mason and Harrison Gray Otis. The term of continu- 
ance was, as in the other bridge charters, seventy years, 
and the bridge was to be constructed from the town's 
land, at the southeasterly part of the town, to Dorchester 
l^eck. At the same time the South Bridge Company 
was incorporated, two other important acts were passed 
by the legislature, one for the annexation of Dorchester 
Neck to Boston, and the other for the building of Front 
street (which took the name of Harrison avenue in 
1841), extending from Essex street to Dover street. 
The cost of the bridge was about f 56,000. At the time 
the question of this bridge was under consideration, va- 
rious plans were started j the one which seemed to be 
very much desired was to have led from South street, 
but this idea was defeated. When the petition for the 
bridge was presented to the General Court, there were 


only ten families on the peninsula comprising Dorches- 
ter ISTeck. On the nineteenth of April, 1832, all the 
franchise and materials of this bridge were conyeyed 
to the city for the sum of three thousand five hundred 
dollars, and the bridge became a public highway. 

The "Western avenue, about a mile and a half long, 
was erected by the Boston and Roxbury Mill Corpora- 
tion, which received a charter for the purpose on the 
fourteenth of June, 1814; but the way was not opened 
for passengers until the second of July, 1821. A peti- 
tion for obtaining a charter for this great undertaking, 
signed by Isaac P. Davis and one hundred and forty- 
three others, was presented to the legislature in June, 
1813. The subject was placed in charge of three emi- 
nent gentlemen as commissioners, who held sittings for 
public hearings, and who finally at the next meeting of the 
General Court recommended a plan for the erection of a 
dam which should extend westerly from the town to 
Sewall's Point in BrooMine, giving a flowage of about 
four hundred and fifty acres. This was a change from 
the plan of the petitioners, who proposed a dam twenty- 
two hundred feet long, extending from the foot of Bea- 
con street to Gravelly Point in Roxbury, giving a flow- 
age of only two hundred and twenty acres. It was also 
proposed to cut a canal across the N^eck for the passage 
of vessels, and another along the neck running to Rox- 
bury. In this project the towns in the immediate neigh- 
borhood of Boston felt great interest, some being very 
much opposed to it; while others, deeming it for their 
special interest^ favored it strenuously. The act, as 
passed by the legislature, provided for a turnpike forty- 
two feet wide to "Watertown, and another from a point 
on the BrooMine marshes to the "Worcester turnpike, 


near the Old Punch Bowl Tavei'n in BrooMine. The 
capital stock was divided into 3,500 shares, of one hun- 
dred dollars each. The pei'sons named in the act were 
Messrs. Isaac P. Davis, Uriah Cotting and WUliam 
Brown ; and Mr. Cotting was agent until his decease on 
the ninth of May, 1819, when he was succeeded by Lo- 
ammi Baldwin, Esq. The superintendent of the work 
was Mr. David Moody. George Bethune, Esq., was the 
treasurer of the corporation, and Samuel F. McCleary, 
the late City Clerk, was the clerk. The work pro- 
gressed in such a manner that in the fall of 1820 the 
water of Charles Kiver was shut off, the way opened in 
July, 1821, and the road to Watertown completed in 
1826. The stone material for building the dam was 
brought from Koxbury and Weymouth, the dirt from 
the flats, and a small portion at the Boston extremity of 
the avenue was supplied with dirt from Beacon Hill, 
then in process of being dug down. "When the water 
was shut off from the Back Bay, the dirt became dry, 
and many persons who resided at the time at the South 
End can well remember the clouds of fine dust, almost 
like Tripoli powder, which took possession of every 
crevice of their houses. This dust became such a nuis- 
ance that a sluice-way was made the next season, and 
the flats overflowed with water. The various dams 
were used for economical purposes j grist mills and iron 
works were built, rope-walks were erected, and machine 
shops and manufactories set up. At the opening of the 
way for passengers, a parade was had, but not such as 
would be deemed proper at the present day. Gen. Wil- 
liam H. Sumner acted as Chief Marshal, and Major Dean 
and William Tileston were his aids. A large number 
of people, in carriages, and a cavalcade of horsemen 


passed over the dam, on the signal fired by the South 
End Artillery under Captain Lobdell; and on their re- 
turn, a short address was made by the Chief Marshal to 
the persons present, who assembled around him for the 
purpose. On the fourth of June, 1868, an act was passed 
by the legislature, authorizing the city of Boston and the 
towns of BrooHine, Brighton and Watertown, within one 
year, to lay out and accept as highways, so much of the 
Mill-dam road, and the roads and bridges heretofore 
connected therewith in toll franchise, excepting the road 
known as the Cross-dam, as lies within their respective 
limits ', and on the third of the following iN'ovember, the 
Mayor called the attention of the Board of Aldermen to 
this fact, and on the seventh of December, the portion of 
the road within the city limits was laid out and accepted 
as a highway of the city. On the next day the toll- 
house on the avenue was closed^ and the Mill-dam be- 
came a public highway. 

The Boston Free Bridge Corporation, consisting of 
Messrs. !N"athaniel "Whittemore, l!^oah Brooks, Cyrus 
Alger, William Wright, Adam Bent, David Henshaw, 
Jonathan Hunnewell, Francis J. Oliver, Samuel K. Wil- 
liams, Hall J. Howe, and their associates, had a charter 
granted on the fourth of March, 1826, a previous act 
passed twenty-fifth February, 1825, being repealed. The 
bridge to be built was to extend in a straight line from 
or near jSea street in Boston to the newly made land in 
South Boston, and nearly in the direction of Dorchester 
Turnpike; it was to be of the proper width, and to have 
a suitable draw. G-reat opposition was made to the es- 
tablishment of this bridge, but its enterprising under- 
takers succeeded. The bridge was bought by the city, 
by deed dated September 26, 1828, and was opened for 


travel late in the year. On the eleventh of May, 1857, 
the name of this bridge was changed to Federal street 
bridge. By an act passed on the twenty-fourth of 
April, 1869, the city was authorized to widen the 

The Warren bridge, leading from Haverhill street to 
Charlestown square, 1,390 feet in length, was erected 
by a company incorporated on the eleventh of March, 
1828, the corporators named in the act being Messrs. 
John Skinner, Isaac Warren, John Cofran, IsTathaniel 
Austin, Ebenezer Breed and N^athan Tufts. The bridge 
was to extend over Charles Kiver, from or near the 
wharf in Charlestown late the property of John Harris, 
Esq., to the newly made lands in Boston near the Mill 
Creek, and it was to be not less than forty-four feet 
wide, and to have a suitable draw. So rapid was the 
building of this bridge, that it was opened to the public 
on the twenty-fifth of December of the same year. In 
1833 the control of the bridge was assumed by the State, 
and toll was taken in order to defray the expense of 
construction; and on the second of March, 1836, it was 
opened to the public. It was repaired by an act of the 
legislature passed on the seventeenth of March, 1841, 
and again put under toll and so continued until the first 
of December, 1843, when, together with Charles River 
bridge, it was again made free. After becoming free a 
second time, these bridges were a third time placed 
under toll, on the first of June, 1854, until the thirtieth 
of April, 1858, when they finally became free. 

On the eighth of June, 1868, an act was passed, by 
which three commissioners were subsequently appointed, 
for widening the draws of the Charles River and Warren 
bridges, for putting the bridges in thorough repair, and 


for assessing upon the cities of Boston and CharlestoT^rn 
the expense of repairing and maintaining them in future. 

The Chelsea free bridge, 690 feet long, was con- 
structed across Chelsea Creek by a company incorpo- 
rated on the twenty-eighth of March, 1834. It extends 
from the northerly end of Chelsea street in East Boston 
to a point in Chelsea, formerly a part of the farm of the 
late Dr. Benjamin Shurtleff, who gave a road through 
his land for the benefit of free travel. The corporators 
named in the act were Messrs. Benjamin T. Keed, Amos 
Binney and John Henshaw. The bridge was opened for 
passengers in October, 1834. It was rebuilt in 1848, 
and on the eleventh of May, 1857, its name was changed 
to Chelsea street bridge. It is kept in repair by the 
cities of Boston and Chelsea. 

The East Boston free bridge, now called Meridian 
street bridge, 1,515 feet long, was built by a company 
consisting of Messrs. Henry D. Gardiner, Morrill Cole, 
Watson G. Mayo, and others, who were incorporated on 
the fifteenth of May, 1855. It was purchased by the 
city and completed in December, 1856, and extends 
from the northwest part of East Boston to Pearl street 
in Chelsea. 

The Chelsea Point bridge, 570 feet in length, was 
buUt by a company incorporated on the first of April, 
1835, and was opened for travel in the fall of 1839. It 
crosses a wide creek which separates the easterly end of 
Breed's Island from Pulling Point in the town of Win- 
throp. The corporators were Messrs. Joseph Burrill, 
Joseph Belcher, and John W. Tewksbury. The city 
was authorized, by an act passed on the seventeenth of 
April, 1849, to purchase this bridge, and on the first 
of July, 1850, it was laid out as a highway. 


The Mount Washington avenue bridge was built 
under an act of the legislature passed the twenty-eighth 
of April, 1853, Messrs. Benjamin T. Reed, Deming Jar- 
ves, Eben Jones and others incorporators, and was com- 
pleted and accepted by the Board of Aldermen on the 
thirtieth of April, 1855, but was not opened to the pub- 
lic for some time afterwards. The bridge was not to ex- 
ceed seventy feet in width, and was to extend from some 
point between Foundry and Wales's wharves, across 
Fort Point Channel to the Harbor line, at South Bos- 
ton, as established in 1840. 

Broadway Bridge, extending across Fort Point Chan- 
nel, at the place where Broadway, if continued in a 
straight line, or nearly a straight line, from South 
Boston to Boston proper, would cross the channel, 
was authorized by an act passed on the twenty-fifth 
of April, 1866. The proper resolves and order for the 
extension of Broadway from Federal street to Albany 
street were passed by the City Council and approved on 
the fourth of May, 1869. The Broadway Biidge was 
soon after put under contract, the award having been 
made to the Moseley Iron Building Works for the sum 
of $331,708.76, the work to be completed early in the 
year 1870. 

An act was passed on the ninth of June, 1868, for the 
improvement of Boston Harbor, whereby the city was 
authorized to build and lay out as a public street, East- 
ern avenue, with a bridge over Fort Point Channel. 
This bridge will undoubtedly be built in proper time. 

By an act of the legislature, passed on the eleventh 
of June, 1868, and repealed in 1869, the Maverick Bridge 
Company were authorized to erect a bridge over the 
water between the main land in the city of Boston and 


East Boston. This project was opposed by the general 
goyemment, and consequently given up. 

A pile bridge was also authorized to be built, not 
exceeding one hundred feet in width, from the westerly 
side of South Bay, at or near the southerly end of Pine 
Island wharf, so called, to the easterly side of said bay, 
and to be located in such a direction, that, if continued 
easterly, it would intersect Federal street at or near 
Dorchester street. Acts for this purpose were passed 
on the seventeenth of March and twenty-second of June, 
1869, and the bridge was required to be built and finished 
within five years of the passage of the act. When the 
necessity for this bridge becomes sufficiently imperative, 
it will undoubtedly be built. 

Several other bridges extend from Boston, as parts 
of the raUroads leading from the city, all of which are 
comparatively of recent construction, and require no 
special mention. 

In this connection it may be well to inention that 
Maiden Bridge, which connects Charlestown and Mai- 
den, was built by a company incorporated on the first 
of March, 1787. The work was commenced on the first 
of April, and the bridge opened for travel in September 
of the same year; and on the first of April, 1859, the 
tolls were taken ofi", and the bridge made a public high- 
way. Chelsea Bridge, connecting Charlestown and . 
Chelsea, and Salem Turnpike, buUt under an act of 
incorporation granted on the sixth of March, 1802, be- 
came free on the ninth of ]S"ovember, 1869. 

In the olden time, the other approaches to Boston 
were by means of the regular ferries from Charlestown 
and Winnisimmet (a portion of the town of Chelsea), 
and by an occasional ferry from Cambridge. Early 


attempts had been made, as before stated, for the con- 
struction of a bridge to Roxbury over the Back Bay; 
but these, like other similar ones for kindred objects, 
entirely failed, leaving Boston N^eck as the only ap- 
proach to the town by foot and horse travel, until the 
year 1786, when Charles Eiver bridge was opened. 



Boundaries • • • Inner and Outer Harbors • • • Outside tlie Light • . • The Harbor 
Visited by Ancient Navigators . ■ • Visit of the Plymouth Forefathers • ■ • De- 
scription in 1724 by Capt. Uring • • • Point AUerton • • • The Brewsters • • • 
Hull • • • Channels, Passages, Ledges, Rocks and Islands • • • Point Shirley- • • 
Pulling Point ■ • • Chelsea, Winthrop, and North Chelsea, formerly Wlnni- 
simmet, Pulling Point and Rumney Marsh • • • Southern Boundary • ■ • Islands, 
formerly well wooded • • • Forms of the Islands • • • Channels, Shoals and 

BosTOK Haebok includes that portion of Massachu- 
setts Bay which lies between Point Shirley on the north 
and Point AUerton on the south, and extends from the 
range of rocks and islands between these Points on the 
east to the peninsula on the west. It is usually spoken 
of as two harbors, separated by an imaginary line pass- 
ing north- and south through Governor's Island, — the 
Inner Harbor comprising aU the tide-waters west of this 
line, and the Outer Harbor all east of it bayward to the 
ocean. Sometimes a third division is alluded to, called 
" Outside the Light," which includes several shoals and 
sounds, and extends to the outermost rocks and ledges 
of the coast. When any vessel is said to be within the 
harbor, the inference is that it is within the bounds first 
above given. "When persons talk of going " down the 
harbor," they do not expect to go beyond Boston Outer 
Light House; but when in extraordinary cases they do 


go beyond tliat structure, the expression is usually qual- 
ified by adding the words " and outside." "Within its 
limits are generally included the several inlets which 
appertain to the towns around its margin, and which 
have acquired the names of bays and harbors, with the 
names of the contiguous towns attached. 

In describing the harbor, notice must be taken of its 
roads, sounds, channels, islands, rocks, and spits. In- 
stead of parading these iu a tabular statement in an 
alphabetical order, the plan wUl be pursued in these 
chapters that nature has already provided, and distinctly 
indicated. Therefore, after giving a cursory description 
of the harbor's surroundings, an attempt will be made to 
take the objects worthy of note in the order they are 
presented to any one leaving the easterly end of Long 
Wharf, on a voyage of survey and inspection. By pur- 
suing this course, the account will be more useful to 
those who may retrace the writer's steps, and much more 
intelligible to the reader, who may at home follow him iu 
his wanderings by perusing his descriptions. 

Perhaps, before entering into particulars, the writer 
may be allowed to go back to ancient times, and allude 
to some of the early visits to this harbor, which attracted 
the notice of navigators and others, who touched its 
shores long before Boston was selected as the site of 
the maritime capital of I^ew England. 

It is stated by historical writers, that more than eight 
hundred and sixty years ago the ancient Icelandic navi- 
gators, who had frequently visited the regions of Green- 
land and Labrador in their numerous voyages, explored 
the sea coast of America as far south as ^NTew Jersey. 
It lias been believed that, on some of these adventurous 
occasions, they anchored near or within the harbor of 


Boston. One of these navigators in particular, Thor- 
wald, who made his voyages in the year 1003 and 1004, 
is supposed to have reached Cape Codj and afterwards, 
following the coast in a circuitous course, to have dis- 
covered an abrupt promontory, well covered with trees, 
which he named Krossaness, and which archaeologists 
have supposed to be Point Allerton, the southerly head- 
land at the entrance of the harbor. These traditions, 
however, are extremely vague, and entirely unworthy of 

Other accounts, much more to be relied upon, tell of 
visits to the Massachusetts Bay by the Plymouth fore- 
fathers. On one of these memorable occasions, as Gov. 
Bradford has related, they sent out a party of ten men 
in their shallop, with proper attendants for interpreting, 
to visit the Massachusetts people, the aborigines of the 
soU. This was performed on the eighteenth and nine- 
teenth of September, 1621, just nine years before' the 
settlement of Boston. The Governor states, that "they 
returned in saftie, and brought home a good quantity of 
beaver, and made reporte of ye place, wishing they had 
been ther seated; (but it seems ye Lord, who assignes 
to all men ye bounds of their habitations, had appointed 
it for another use.)" An account of this visit can be 
found in Mourt's Relation, written by one of the com- 
pany. Under date of the eighteenth of September, 1621, 
this account says : — " "We set out about mid-night, the 
tyde-then serueing for vs; we supposing it to be neerer 
then it is, thought to be there the next morning betimes ; 
but it proved well neere twentie Leagues from JVew Fly- 
mouth. "We came into the bottome of the Bay, but being 
late we anchored and lay in the shallop, not hauing scene 
any of the people. The next morning we put in for the 



shore. There we found many Lobsters that had beene 
gathered together by the Saluages, which we made 
ready vnder a cliffe." It further says, " Againe we 
crossed the Bay which is very large, and hath at lest 
fiftie Ilands in it, but the certaine number is not koowne 
to the Inhabitants." It closes with the following words: 
— "Within this Bay, the Saluages say, there are two 
Eiuers; the one whereof we saw, having a faire en- 
trance, but we had no time to discover it. Better har- 
bours for shipping cannot be then here are. At the 
entrance of the Bay are many Eockes; and in all likeli- 
hood very good fishing ground. Many, yea, most of 
the Ilands have beene inhabited, some being cleered 
from end to end, but the people are all dead, or re- 
moued. Our victual growing scarce, the Winde fayre, 
and having a light Moone, we set out at evening, and 
through the goodnesse of God, came safely home before 
noone the day following." 

In a volume of voyages and travels by Captain 'Na.- 
thaniel Uring, an Englishman, made between the years 
1697 and 1724, is the following brief description of the 
harbor, probably written just after his last visit to Bos- 
ton in April, 1721: 

"Boston is the chief Town in the Province of Massa- 
chusetts Bay, it stands upon a Peninsula, at the Bottom 
of a Bay, which run in about eight Miles, and is fenced 
with Islands, Rocks, and Sands, which makes it a very 
secure Harbour; the Entrance into it is narrow, and 
some Shoals lie on the South Side: Some small rocky 
Islands, which are called the Brewsters, makes the 
]^orth Side of it, on one of which Islands stands a 
Light House, to give N'otice to Ships who may arrive 


on that Coast in the I^ight, and be a Guide to them; 
where might be also built a Fortification, which would 
command the Mouth of that Harbour, when the Inhabi- 
tants think it proper; but at present their Fort stands 
upon an Island, two Miles and a Half below the Town; 
the Channel for Ships lies very near it, so that no Ships 
can pass by it but what the Fort is able to command : 
It is a strong, regular, well buUt Fort, mounted with 
about 100 Pieces of Cannon, where they keep a Gar- 
rison, who are paid by the Country." 

The foregoing extract was written by a person of 
some consideration, who was for a time the Duke of 
Montagu's Governor of the Island of St. Lucia, one 
of the Carribees; and it undoubtedly is as much to be 
relied upon as any of the accounts of the old voyagers . 

Approaching Boston from the seaward, one of the 
first objects that meets the eye is a projecting promon- 
tory, which at a distance very much resembles the tail of 
a large whale. This point of land, part of the ancient 
township of Hull, took its name from Mr. Isaac Aller- 
ton, one of the passengers of the renowned May Flower, 
and one of the most noted of the forefathers who landed 
at Plymouth on Monday, the twenty-first (not 22d) of 
December, 1620, !N". S. AUerton acted much as agent for 
the Plymouth Colony, and was distinguished for great 
enterprise and love of adventure. Tradition informs us 
that, in one of the voyages of the Plymouth Pilgrims to 
Salem, they stopped on their way at the Harbor of Bos- 
ton, and landed upon the islands situated at its en- 
trance, and also upon the neighboring promontory; and 
that they named the projecting headland Point Allerton, 
and the islands "the Brewsters," in respect for his 


wife's brothers and sisters, the children of Mr. "William 
Brewster, the good old ruling elder of the First Church 
of ISTew Plymouth. The corruptions which often get 
into spoken language have led frequently to an error in 
the spelling of the name of the promontory; for it is 
often spelled upon charts " Point Alderton," an error 
which has been corrected, as on all the charts that have 
any pretensions to accuracy the Point is now correctly 
printed AUerton. 

Point Allerton has its Great Hill on its centre, and 
its Little Hill on the northeast, and also its monument 
and its buoy. At its west, connected by a stony beach, 
is the town of Hull, sometimes called j!^antasket Island, 
the most western part of which is known as Windmill 
Point. In a southerly direction from Point Allerton, 
leading to Cohasset, is the famous l!Tantasket Beach 
facing the ocean, with its Scull Head, Strawberry Hill, 
Wliite Head, and Sagamore Head; the Beach itself 
being subdivided by Strawberry Hill, so that its north- 
erly end is called the Long Beach, and its southerly end 
the Stony Beach. Ifearly due east from the Point are 
projections of a. dangerous rock, called Harding's 
Ledge; and about southeast is the much dreaded Mi- 
not's Ledge, with its stone lighthouse. 

N^orthward of Point Allerton is the Main Ship Chan- 
nel; and, pursuing a northerly course, one soon comes 
to Lighthouse Island, sometimes called the Little Brew- 
ster, to distinguish it from the Great Brewster with 
which it is connected by a bai', and from the Middle 
Brewster and Outer Brewster, which lie north of it. 
JSTorth of these are Great and Little Calf Island, and 
their Hypocrite Passage, or Channel, which separates 
them from Devil's Back, Green Island, and Moffit's 


Ledge, to the northeast of which ledge of rocks are a 
number of unpropitious looking rocks, very properly 
and suggestively called the Graves. Having advanced 
thus far. Broad Sound Channel, which separates this 
group of islands from Deer Island, presents itself; then 
comes Deer Island, in very remote times a part of the 
main land, at the north of which is Shirley Gut. Then 
Point Shirley appears with Gut Plain, Great Head (or 
Green Hill), BluiF Head (or "Winthrop's Head), and, 
further on, Grover's Cliff, all within the limits of the 
town of Winthrop. 

Point Shirley has for many years past been a noted 
place. It was formerly called Pulling Point, a name 
now retained by another more commodious headland at 
the northwest, fronting westerly upon the harbor, and 
which has sometimes been called Chelsea Point. About 
the middle of the last century a number of Boston cap- 
italists attempted to carry on the fishery business here, 
and purchased land for the erection of dwelling-houses 
and workshops for the fishermen they intended to em- 
ploy; but, instead of doing this, they put up houses for 
their own pleasure accommodation, and a meeting-house 
for a preacher on Sundays, wholly neglectful of the op- 
eratives who were to have carried on the business for 
them. When ready for their enterprise, the speculators, 
believing that all great undertakings should bo auspi- 
ciously commenced, concluded to have a nice time, and 
consequently invited Governor Shirley, who was exceed- 
ingly popular with Bostonians, to go down the harbor 
with them on the eighth of September, 1753. At the 
time appointed, the proprietors of the new establish- 
ment went down to the fishery with the Governor and 
a number of gentlemen of distinction, — for they had 


such personages then in great abundance, as now — 
who were selected, perhaps, because they could make 
speeches, tell stories, or sing songs, and at any rate 
could eat dinners and drink good liquors. As they 
passed Castle WiUiam (now called Fort Independence) 
they, that is to say, the Governor and the company, 
were saluted with a discharge of fifteen guns; and so 
they were when they returned. It is said that the Gov- 
ernor was received at the Point with aU the demonstra- 
tion of joy that so new a settlement was capable of; and 
that His Excellency expressed great satisfaction on find- 
ing so considerable an addition to that valuable branch 
of trade, the cod fishery, and hoped the gentlemen con- 
cerned would meet with such success as to make them 
ample amends for so noble an undertaking. The pro- 
prietors, after having leave from His Excellency, gave to 
the place the name of Point Shirley. The Governor 
was well paid for his condescension, for his name is im- 
mortalized and kept green, while the names of the un- 
dertakers are as seldom mentioned as their unsuccessful 
attempt. About the commencement of the present cen- 
tury the manufacture of salt was tried at the same place, 
but did not prove remunerative; and in later times the 
Revere Copper Company have established works, which, 
though they may have been profitable to the proprietors, 
certainly have not added to the salubrity of the air at 
the Point, nor made the residence in the neighborhood 
particularly agreeable at all times. 

In reference to the derivation of the old name, Pull- 
ing Point, John Josselyn, gent., in an account of his 
voyages to 'New England, printed at the Green Dragon 
in St. Paul's Churchyard, London, in 1675, says, "Pul- 
lin-point is so called because the boats are by the seas- 


ing or roads haled against the tide which is very strong 
it is the usual channel for boats to pass into Mattachu- 

On the northerly side, creeks separated the islands 
in the harbor from Chelsea, a town which has recently 
been divided into three: "Winthrop on the east, named 
in honor of Mr. Deane Winthrop (son of the Gov- 
ernor), who dwelt there many years, and died on the 
sixteenth of March, 1703-4; ]S'orth Chelsea, and Chel- 
sea on the west. All of Chelsea was formerly a part of 
Boston, under the names of Kumney Marsh, Pulling 
Point, and Winnisimmet, and was set off from it by an 
Act of the Provincial Legislature, passed on the ninth 
of January, 1738-9. An ineffectual attempt was made 
to reunite the two towns, but it failed, as several others 
have done in later times. 

On the south side of the harbor are the towns of 
Hull on the east, then, in succession southwesterly, the 
towns of Hingham, "Weymouth, Braintree (now Quincy), 
Dorchester and Roxbury, — for these last-mentioned 
towns should not be forgotten as having existed as 
distinct municipaUties ; and that South Boston in the 
olden time was a part of Dorchester, under the name of 
Dorchester Point or Neck, and Roxbury or Gallows 
Bay (now South Bay) was once part of the harbor. 

"Within the harbor, lying west of the islands already 
mentioned, are many others, several of which are of con- 
siderable size; while some are extremely small, and a few 
have long since lost the name of islands, although they 
once were so, and exhibit to this day evident proofs of 
the fact. History, as well as tradition, tells that these 
islands were mostly well wooded in the earlier days of 
the 'New England settlement', and that they had been 


inhabited before the arrival of the forefathers. Certain 
it is, that, when the first national census was taken, in 
the year 1790, there were fifteen houses and two hun- 
dred and fifty-two inhabitants found upon them; and, 
what is remarkable, there is hardly one of them that has 
not had a visible spring,, or springs, easily reached by 

If the map of the harbor is carefuUy inspected, the 
first impression made upon an observer is that of the 
curious forms nature has given to these various islands; 
which forms have been most queerly changed by the ef- 
fects of the currents, and now, with their beaches and 
projecting points and headlands, present to the eye the 
most grotesque and amusing shapes. This fact is wor- 
thy of being made available in giving a description of 
these spots (not blemishes) within this justly celebrated 
harbor. ^Noddle's Island, or East Boston, as it is now 
called, very much resembles a great polar bear, with its 
head north, and its feet east. Governor's Island has 
much 'the form of a ham, and Castle Island looks like 
a shoulder of pork, both with their shanks at the south. 
Apple Island was probably so named on account of its 
shape; and Snake Island maybe likened to a kidney; 
Deer Island is very like a whale, facing Point Shirley; 
Thompson's Island, like a very young unfledged chicken ; 
Spectacle Island, like a pair of spectacles ; Long Island, 
like a high- top military boot; Eainsford Island, like a 
mink; Moon Island, like a leg of venison; Gallop's (not 
Galloupe's) Island, like a leg of mutton; Lovell's Island, 
like a dried salt fish; George's Island, like a fortress, as 
it is; Pettick's Island, like a young sea monster; and 
Half-Moon Island, like the new or the old moon, as you 
view it from the south or north. The other small islands 


resemble piimpMns, grapes and nuts, as much as any- 
thing, hence the names of some of them. If this mne- 
monical description can be kept in mind, certainly the 
forms of the islands will be remembered, even if their 
names are forgotten. 

The channels of the harbor have been named Ship 
Channel, Glades Channel, Broad Sound IN^orth Channel, 
Broad Sound South Channel. The passages have been 
designated Bird's Island Passage, the Back or Western 
Way, Black Rock Passage or Channel, and Hypocrite 
Passage or Channel. The Poads are President Roads, 
Ifantasket Roads, and the Old and New Quarantine 
Roads. The most notable shoals are Bird Island Shoal, 
Upper Middle Shoal, and Lower Middle Shoal. The 
rocks within the harbor most worthy of notice are Wil- 
son's Rocks, Hangman's Ledge, Corwin's Rock, Kelley's 
Rock, Barrel Rock, and Quarantine Rocks. Each of 
these deserves a. particular notice, which will be given 
in passing along descriptively through the channels and 
among the islands in the tour of inspection. 



Approach to the Harbor through Ship Channel ■ • ■ Mystic and Charles Rivera 
and Chelsea Creek ■ • ■ Bird Island Shoal, formerly an Island • • • Noddle's 
Island, formerly well wooded • ■ • Granted to Samuel Maverick in 1633 • • • 
Recently known as Williams's Island, and East Boston • • -Fanciful Shape • • • 
Localities ••• Fort on Camp Hill, 1776 •■•Maverick's Fort, 1680 ■■•Fort 
Strong, 1814. •• George Worthylake Drowned, 1718 •■• Duel in 1819. ■■ 
Hog Island, sometimes designated Susanna, Belle Isle, and Breed's Island 
■ • • Governor's Island, formerly Conant's Island, Devised to Governor 
Winthrop in 1632 • • • Old Fort Warren, now Fort Winthrop ■ • • The Upper 

Taking departure from the end of Long wharf, the 
most easterly of those projeetmg from the peninsula, 
and making to sea in an easterly direction, the harbor is 
approached at once by Ship Channel, which may be said 
to have its rise from the Mystic and Charles Rivers, and 
Chelsea Creek, all of which open into it at the north- 
west. After pursuing a course due east a little over a 
mile, there is a shoal, composed of gravel and small 
stones, formerly the site of a small island, which tradi- 
tion says was of some value, and contained a respectable 
marsh, which was mowed annually." This is confirmed 
by the following record taken from the old town books, 
twenty-fifth March, 1650: "Tho' Munt hath liberty to 
mow the marsh at Bird Island this yeare." Again, on 
the second of April, 1658 : " Bird Island is lett to James 


Euerill & Rich Woody for sixty yeares, paying 12d sil- 
uer or a bushel of salt every first of March to y® town 
Treasurer & in defect of paym' att y" day 2s or two 
bushels of salt, & so 12d or a bushel of salt for every 
months neglect, & y" s* Hand is bound for paym*." 
Tradition also leads to the inference that it was some- 
titnes, though not always (for another shared the same 
disgrace), the place for the execution and burial of 
pirates in the olden time. This shoal, which bears the 
name of Bird Island, makes quite a show at low tide, 
and is exactly between two islands, — the one at its left, 
known as IN'oddle's Island (now East Boston), and the 
other at its right. Governor's Island, formerly Win- 
throp's Island. The way by the sides and over the 
gravel of this shoal has been generally known as Bird 
Island Passage, and at high tide is the most direct route 
to Shirley Gut for small vessels bound to Nahant and to 
the ports on the northern coast of ISTew England. 

The large island, now known as East Boston, prob- 
ably took its name from William ^Noddle, whom Gov- 
ernor Winthrop calls " an honest man of Salem"; for he 
was here early enough to have given to the island the 
name which it bore in 1630, though Mr. Samuel Mav- 
erick appears to have been a resident on it some years 
before that time. As far back as July, 1631, an order 
was passed by the Court of Assistants restrailiing per- 
sons from "putting on cattell, felling wood, raseing 
slate," on Conant's Island, Noddle's Island, and Thomp- 
son's Island; and on the third of April, 1632, it was 
ordered, " That noe pson w*soever shall shoote att fowle 
vpon Pullen Poynte of !N'oddles Ileland, but that the s* 
places shalbe reserved for John Perkins to take fpwle 
with netts." But on the first of April, 1633, the follow- 


ing sensible order was passed by the Court: "Is^oddles 
Heland is granted to M"" Sam" Maiiack [Maverick], 
to enjoy to him & his heires for ever. Yielding & 
payeing yearly att the Generall Court, to the Goiin'^ for 
the time being, either a fatt weather, a fatt hogg, or xls 
in money, & shall giue leave to Boston & Charles- 
Towne to fetch wood contynually, as their neede re- 
quires, from the southerne pte of s* ileland." Either the 
island "was extremely well wooded at the time the order 
was passed, or else the towns of Boston and Charles- 
town were very sparsely inhabited. ll^owadays very 
little wood can be obtained from l^oddle's Island, except 
chips from the yards of the shipbuilders ; for the oldest 
inhabitant only remembers two trees growing upon the 
island previous to its purchase by the East Boston 
Company, which was incorporated on the twenty-fifth 
of March, 1833, and before the subsequent energies of 
the Tree Society. 

This island, and also the neighboring one, now called 
Breed's Island, were very early claimed by Sir William 
Brereton; and sometimes the first named of them has 
been mentioned as Brereton's Island, and the latter was 
similarly attempted to be called Susanna, in respect to 
Sir WUliam's daughter; but his claim to name and ter- 
ritory was never confirmed to him, and the name of 
Ifoddle was retained until it was nearly lost in modern 
times, when the name of a family that resided upon it 
many years somewhat superseded it, as it was fre- 
quently designated as "Williams's Island, until its pur- 
chase by the land company, and settlement as East 

Noddle's Island was "layd to Boston" on the ninth 
of March, 1636-7. It originally contained about six 


hundred and sixty-three acres, together with the con- 
tiguous flats to low water mark, several hundred acres 
in extent, which were confirraed as part of the island by 
a vote of the colonial legislature, passed on the thir- 
teenth of May, 1640. Its nearest approach to Boston 
is now over the ship channel by ferry about eighteen 
hundred feet. It is now connected with the main land 
at Chelsea by two bridges, and with Hog Island by 
another. Describing it from the fanciful shape it has, 
in its resemblance to a great bear, we may say that the 
bear's head, an elevated tract of land, was known as the 
middle farm, with Hog Island Marsh at its northeast. 
The small, round pond in this part, called Eye Pond, in 
consequence of the loss there of the eye of a noted gun- 
ner about fifty years ago, helps out the fancied figure. 
The bear's back, fronting the mouth of Mystic Biver, 
was the most elevated part of the island, and was.. 
known as Epgle Hill, and its abrupt termination at the 
confluence of Mystic Eiver and Chelsea Creek, as West 
Head, and more recently as Eagle Point. The two fore 
feet of the assumed bear were called Eastern and 
Western Wood Islands, being isolated from the Great 
Marsh, which also isolated Camp HOI and its marsh, the 
two hinder paws, from the same. The heel of the hinder 
leg was called Smith's Hill, the site of the old buildings 
which anciently stood on the island, and was separated 
from Camp Hill by Great Creek, now the canal of the 
Water Power Company, lying between the present 
Bainbridge and Decatur streets. The old houses on 
Smith's Hill were destroyed in 1775, during the siege of 
Boston, and were rebuilt soon after the British evacu- 
ated the town from materials taken from the old bar- 
racks used by Washiiigton's army in Cambridge. 


In June, 1776, a fort was erected on Gamp Hill by 
voluntary labor, which, after becoming of no use, was 
suffered to go to ruin, until the fears of the Bostonians 
required the erection of another. This, or Smith's Hill, 
may have been the site of Mr. Maverick's fort of four 
guns erected in 1630. On the fourteenth of September, 
1814, another and more substantial fort was commenced 
on Camp Hill. This was built by the voluntary services 
of patriotic inhabitants of the Commonwealth, various 
societies, and the several trades and crafts, taMng 
special days for the performance of their part of the 
labor. On the twenty-sixth of the following October, 
the fortification was formally named Fort Strong, in 
compliment to the then energetic governor of the Com- 
monwealth, and on the twenty-ninth a public announce- 
ment was made that the fort was completed. The old 
barracks were removed from the site of this fort in 
1833, and the breastworks were gradually obliterated. 
Any one desirous of knowing the exact position of this 
structure can find its site on the spot where now there 
is an open space, in the section of the island which has 
the name of Belmont Square. 

This island has a little romance connected with it. 
It was on Monday, the third of l!^'ovember, 1718, that 
Mr. George Worthylake, with his wife Ann, and his 
daughter Euth, took a sail to iJ^oddle's Island from the 
lighthouse, where he was the keeper, undoubtedly in- 
tending to have a good time ; but in the language of an 
ancient New England historian, they " took heaven by 
the way," for they were all drowned, and taken to 
Copp's Hill for burial; and young Benjamin Franklin, a 
youthful aspirant for poetic fame, wrote a ballad on the 
event, and printed and sold it in the streets of Boston. 


Oh, that some old chest, long hidden in some dark gar- 
ret, would disclose this much sought for curiosity, one 
of the earliest sparks from the fire that afterwards burnt 
80 brightly 1 Another event which is not entirely for- 
gotten is the famous duel between two lieutenants in 
the United States naval service, which occurred on the 
twenty-fifth of September, 1819, near the two elms that 
formerly stood not far from the present Border street. 
The challenging party, Lieut. Francis B. White, was in- 
stantly killed by Lieut. "William Finch, satisfactorily, 
no doubt, to the survivor. In more modern times, as 
many North-enders will well remember, this island, so 
renowned for its hospitality from the first days of Mr. 
Maverick to the last days of Mr. Williams, was chiefly 
visited by pleasure parties for cooking their fish or 
baking their clams, a privilege which was lost after the 
island was settled, and other green spots in the harbor 
were selected for this purpose. 

A short distance to the northeast of iN^oddle's Island, 
and separated from it by a narrow, shallow creek, is 
Hog Island, to which attempts have been made several 
times to affix other names, such as Susanna, Belle Isle 
and Breed's Island; but the old and homely name has 
prevailed until the present day, and probably will last 
until the march of improvement shall cover it with 
dwelling-houses, and make it a place for fancy resi- 
dences.. It has from time immemorial been used for ag- 
ricultural purposes, and in the olden time was noted for 
furnishing a remarkable pasturage for cows and sheep. 
In size it is about two-thirds as large as its neighbor, 
Ii"oddle'8 Island. When Winnisimmet, Eumney Marsh 
and Pulling Point were set off from Boston, in January, 
1738-9, to form the town of Chelsea, these two islands 


were reserved to constitute part of the town of Boston, 
to which they have continued to be attached down to 
the present time. Hog Island is separated from the 
town of "Winthrop by an inconsiderable creek, over the 
widest part of which there is now a wooden bridge. 
The island was also connected with Chelsea by a narrow 
wooden bridge, erected by Mr. Breed j but this has been 
taken down, and the island is approached now over the 
bridge from East Boston. 

On the first of April, 1634, this island, under the 
name of "Hogg Island," and several others, were 
" granted to Boston for euer for the yearely rent of ijl. 
to be paid to the Treasurer the first day of the second 
month yearely," that is, on AprU first j for ia old times, 
before the year 1752, the year commenced on the 
twenty-fifth of March, and March was styled the first 
month, as December was the tenth month. On the 
fourth of March following, however, the colonial leg- 
islature was so • conscience-stricken at the exorbitant 
charge, that " Deere Hand, Hogg Hand, Longe Band, & 
Spectacle Ileland are graunted to the inhabitants there, 
for euer paying to the Treasurer for the tyme being the 
yearly rent of iiijs. & the former rent of iijZ. is remitted 
them." After this time the island passed into private 
hands; and, having a fertile soil, with its fields lying 
upon a high hiU favorably to the sun, and free from the 
efiects of the sea breezes, it has been improved as a farm, 
and its agricultural products have been remunerative. 

For a long series of years this island belonged to the 
Breed family, and the last resident of the name, John 
Breed, died several years ago. The estate was sold in 
1869, and will undoubtedly soon be used for other pur- 
poses than those which have made it so well known. 


Eeturning to the position near Bird Island Shoal, 
there lies at the southeast Goyernor's Island, frequently 
called "Winthrop's Island, because the island was granted 
to Governor "Winthrop very early by the colonial leg- 
gislature. This noted island took its first name from 
Roger Conant, a distinguished early settler of !N'ew 
England, who was at Plymouth as early as 1623, then 
at IsTantucket, and subsequently at Cape Ann, and 
afterwards at Salem in 1627, and Beverly last, where 
he died on the nineteenth of I^ovember, 1679, in the 
eighty-seventh year of his age. It contains about 
seventy acres of land. 

The first known of this island is that on the fifth of * 
July, 1631, " it was appropriated to publique benefits 
and vses." But on the twenty-ninth of the same month 
it proved to be very far from being a benefit, for we are 
told that "the Friendship set sail for the Christopher 
Islands, and ran on ground behind Conant's Island," 
which any one would consider hard treatment for 
Friendship. On the third of April, 1632, at a Court of 
Assistants, " The island called Conant's Island, with all 
the liberties & privileges of fishing & fowleing, was de- 
mised to John "Winthrop, Esq., the psent Goiin'', for 
the terme of his life, for the ffine of fi"orty shillings, & 
att the-yearely rent of xijcZ, to be paid to the Treasurer 
upon the twentyfifth day of March j & it was further 
agreed, & the said John "Winthrop did covenant and 
j)mise to plant a vineyard and an orchyard in the same, 
in consideracon whereof the Court did graunt that att 
the end of the said tearme, the lease hereof should be 
renewed to the heires or assignes of the said John "Win- 
throp for one & twenty yeares, payeing yearely to the 
Gofln"' for the time being, the fifth pte of all such fruicts 



& proffitts as shalbe yearely rajsed' out of the same, & 
soe the same lease to be renewed from time to time, vnto 
the heires & assignes of the said John Winthrop, with 
the said reservacon of the said fifth pte to the Gofln'' for 
the time being, & the name of the said ileland was 
changed, & is to be called the Gotin''s Garden; pvided, 
that if the heires or assignes of the said John Winthrop 
shall att any time suffer the said ileland to lye wast, & 
not impue the same, then this fsent demise to be voide." 
It seems that the excellent governor did not suffer the 
Governor's Garden to go unimproved, though perhaps 
some of his modem successors would do so, rather than 
keep a vineyard and provide fruit for the legislature. It 
is surmised, also, by some, that the good old Puritan an- 
cestors had an eye to the wine vats, when they looked 
out for the " fifth part " of the proceeds of the garden ; 
and this is made more than presumptive by the follow- 
ing record, made on the fourth of March, 1634-5 : 
"Whereas the yearely rent of the Goiin''s Garden was 
the fifth pte of all the ffruict that shall growe there, it is 
ordered, by this present Court, (att the request of John 
Winthrop, Esq.,) that the rent of the said ileand shalbe 
a hogshead of the best wine that shall growe there, to 
be paide yearely, after the death of the said John Win- 
throp, and noething before." It is to be feared that the 
vineyard failed, though the orchard flourished; for it 
appears that Mr. Winthrop was left out of office, and 
another vote passed on the twelfth of May, 1640, by 
which the island was " granted &; confirmed to the said 
John Winthrop & his heires in fee farme, for w"*" they 
are to pay onley two bushels of apples every yeare — 
one bushell to the Governor, & another to the Generall 
Court in winter, — the same to bee of the best apples 


there growing." It is evident that Mr. Winthrop meant 
to keep to his part of the agreement; for on the fourth 
of Octoher, 1640, it is stated in the Massachusetts Col- 
ony Records, that "Mr. Winthrop, senior, paid in his 
bushell of apples" to the General Court; and, undoubt- 
edly, the ex-governor, for Mr, John Winthrop was only 
an Assistant that year, sent the other bushel to Gover- 
nor Thomas Dudley, his successor in ofl&ce, who dwelt 
in Eoxbury. It is supposed that the apples were faith- 
fully paid in every year, and that each of the members 
of the General Court carried home his pockets full; for 
again, in September, 1642, the following significant en- 
try appears upon the records : " The bushell of apples 
was paid in." How long this practice continued is not 
known; certainly it did not reach to modern times, for it 
would have been hard for some years past to find any 
apples, except perchance a few " apples of the earth," 
called in French, "pommes de terre," with which to 
have fulfilled the contract. 

The island continued entirely in the possession of 
the Winthrop family from the time of the colonial grant 
until a portion of it, six acres only, was sold by James 
Winthrop of Cambridge for $15,000, and conveyed to 
the General Government on the eighteenth of May, 
1808, for the purpose of erecting a fort, which, when 
built, was called Fort Warren, in respect to the memory 
of Gen. Joseph Warren. This name, however, has been 
transferred recently to another fort erected on George's 
Island; and a new fortification, in progress on the sum- 
mit of the high hill on the island, has been named Fort 
Winthrop, in remembrance of the ancient governor to 
whom it was first granted. When Governor's Island 
was used, as it frequently was, for a marine residence, it 


was noted for its hospitality. In the days of the late 
Hon. Thomas L. Winthrop, formerly Lieutenant-Gover- 
nor of the Commonwealth, and President of the Massa- 
chusetts Historical Society, the society several times 
held their meetings there. In later days, like most of 
the islands in the harbor, it has been noted as a place 
of resort for fishing parties. 

The fort, which is now in process of construction, is 
supposed to be one of great strength, and its position is 
considered to be as commanding as could well be de- 
sired. The water battery on the southerly extremity of 
the island is of great advantage to the defences, con- 
trolling, as it does, a large extent of flats, which are 
very shoal except at the highest tides. 

Southwest of the Governor's Island, and on the 
south side of the ship channel, is a shoal projecting 
from South Boston Point, called the Upper Middle. 
This is a great impediment in the harbor, and is contin- 
ually becoming more injurious to navigation, in conse- 
quence of the immense quantity of gravel carried to it 
from the great headlands of the islands in the outer har- 
bor, which are continually washing away by the violence 
of storms. These additions, though they do not raise 
the height of the shoal, nevertheless increase its extent, 
and diminish the width of the channel. It is hoped, 
however, that the dredging contemplated in the work of 
improving the harbor, may remove this barrier, which at 
low tides interferes with the passage of large vessels of 
unusually great depth of draught. 



A Remarkable Catastrophe in the Harbor in 1817, the Destruction of the Can- 
ton Packet • ■ • Slate Ledge • • • Bird Island Passage • ■ • Apple Island • • • For- 
merly the Property of the Town ■ • • A Marine Eesidence ■ • ■ Owned by the 
Hutchinsons and Mortimers • • • Condition of Apple Island in 1773 • • • Occu- 
pied by William Marsh in 1814 • • • Purchased by him in 1830 • • • House burnt 
in 1835 • ■ ■ Snake Island. 

Peehaps it will be well, before getting down the harbor 
so far as to be out of sight of the starting point, to re- 
call the incidents of a well remembered catastrophe that 
occun-ed " off stream," just a short distance from the 
end of Long Wharf. Scarcely any one who was a boy 
between forty-five and fifty years ago will ever forget 
the great consternation the town was thrown into on 
Artillery Election Day, in the year 1817. It appears 
that the once princely merchants, James and Thomas 
Handyside Perkins, — whose excellences are not yet 
forgotten, though the former died on the first of August, 
1822, at the age of sixty-one years, and the latter on the 
tenth of January, 1854, having just entered his ninetieth 
year, — were owners of a fine ship, called the Canton 
Packet, whereof Thomas Proctor was master, and which 
was of between three and four hundred tons burden, 
and was employed in the India trade. As was custom- 
ary in the days that are gone, as well as in the present 
times, an ebony-colored personage, who should ofiiciate 
in the necessary position of cook, and also in the respon- 


sible character of ship's steward, was procured for the 
contemplated voyage to the Isle of France and Canton ; 
and for this purpose a young negro, nineteen years of 
age, born in Philadelphia, and named "William Read, 
was found and engaged. Although business was press- 
ing, and the ship fast getting ready for sea, this individ- 
ual, according to a custom that had become a rule as 
strictly observed as the laws of the Medes and Persians, 
was permitted to go ashore to enjoy the festivities of 
General Election Day, which in those days had a sobri- 
quet that need not be mentioned here, it not having 
passed from memory, the day being one on which per- 
sons of every kindred a,nd tongue, size, color, sex, and 
avocation, had a perfect and full right to the liberties of 
Boston Common. The uidulgences on this occasion 
were so great, and the taste of liberty was such, that, 
although the ship was cleared next day, on the twenty- 
ninth of May, the fellow was determined to have another 
taste of the same pleasures on the next Election day, 
when the Common was usually appropriated to the use 
of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company, and 
the pale-faced nabobs and gentry of the town. Unfor- 
tunately for the steward, the master of the stanch and 
beautiful Chinaman and his crew had also resolved that 
they would have that day for a good time, as they surely 
had good right to do. This made the young man dis- 
contented, sour, and ugly; and he came, consequently, 
to a rash conclusion, — to blow up the ship. AU the 
freight had been taken in, consisting of a valuable cargo, 
upwards of four hundred thousand dollars in specie, and 
among other things two casks of gunpowder. The 
ship was consequently left in charge of the exasperated 
steward; who, not having the fear of the law before 


him, — for he had probably never read the New Eng- 
land Primer, and more especially John Cotton's Milk 
for Babes, — in a moment of desperation and madness 
discharged a pistol into the powder, blew off the stern 
of the ship, and himself up into the skies, distributing 
his disjointed frame throughout the harbor j and as there 
is no record of his burial, although some of the papers 
of the day chronicle his death, his remains were prob- 
ably never collected for interment. This rash act was 
committed at eleven o'clock in the forenoon, when fortu- 
nately the seamen of the United States Ship Independ- 
ence were on board their vessel; and the cable of the 
mangled packet was cut, and the vessel allowed to run 
ashore on the flats, then lying north of Long Wharf, 
and the remainder of the hull was saved. A ballad, 
written in doggerel, issued by Coverly, was circulated 
at the time. This affair was the origin of the famous 
bywords of bygone days, "Who blew up the ship?" 
which question was answered by the colored gentry, 
in true Yankee style, "Who put out the moon?" allud- 
ing to a famous exploit of the fire department, who 
once dragged their engines to the end of the same 
wharf to extiaguish what appeared to be a large fire, but 
turned out to be only the rising of an extraordinarily 
bright full moon on a somewhat hazy summer evening. 
The usual dialogue used on old election days, in refer- 
ence to these events, is too well known to require repe- 
tition. Scarcely any of the surviving frequenters of the 
Common 6n the holidays, in the times of the town, but 
has a story in relation to the blowing up of the Canton 

Leaving on the right Slate Ledge, marked by a black 
buoy (numbered 11), situated near the northerly edge of 


South Boston Flats, and then pursuing a due easterly 
course from Bird Island Shoal about one and a quarter 
miles thi'ough Bird Island Passage, passing (on the left) 
another buoy (No. 6, red) and a permanent beacon 
standing on the easterly edge of the shoal, and on the 
right a black buoy (numbered 1) near the northwesterly 
termination of the flats of Governor's Island, and Apple 
Island, a noted locality in the harbor, is reached. This 
contains about ten acres of land, and is two and three- 
quarters miles directly east of the end of Long Wharf, 
and nearly a mile northeast of Governor's Island. The 
island is round, gently rising from its shores to its 
centre, and has a considerable show of trees upon it, 
two of which have been the most prominent objects in 
the harbor for many years, attracting the eye in the 
daytime much more readily than the lighthouse on 
Long Island Head. The flats which encompass it are 
very extensive, and make its approach at low tide some- 
what difficult. This small green spot in the harbor 
very early fell vmder the jurisdiction of Boston, and in 
the early days of the town was used, as most of the 
other islands were, for pasturage of sheep and cattle; 
but in later times, having a richer soil, and being less 
exposed to the violence of the storms than the other 
islands, it became desirable for a marine residence, and 
as such was improved previous to the war of the Revo- 

From being the property of the town, Apple Island 
passed into private hands, and on the fifth of March, 
1723-4, was sold by Hon. Thomas Hutchinson and his 
wife Sarah (daughter of Hon. John Foster and Lydia 
Turell, his wife), the parents of Governor Thomas 
Hutchinson, the author of the History of Massachu- 


setts, to Mr. Estes Hatch, sometime of Boston and Rox- 
bury, together with the " housing, edifices and buildings 
thereon," for the sum of £200. The executor of Mr. 
Hatch sold it on the fifth of April, 1760, to Mr. James 
Moi'timer, of Boston, tallow-chandler, for the sum of 
£133 6s. 8d., describing it as " an island, situate, lying, 
and being in the township of Boston, called and known 
by the name of Apple Island, containing about nine 
acres, with the flats thereto belonging." James Morti- 
mer, above named, a native of Waterford, Ireland, died 
on the eighteenth of August, 1773, at the age of sixty- 
nine years, devising the island by will, dated the twenty- 
seventh of May, 1765, one-half of the income of it to 
his widow, Hannah, during her life, and the other half 
to his brother Peter Mortimer, of Boston, mariner, with 
the reversion of the whole at the decease of the above- 
named widow. To give something of an idea of the 
condition of the island at the time of Mr. James Mor- 
timer's decease, the following extract is taken from his 
will: "And I will that the lumber that is on Apple 
Island with the boats and farm tools remain on said 
island for the benefit of the same." In Mr. Morti- 
mer's inventory, taken on the fourteenth of September 
succeeding his death, are the following items : — 

"Apple Island, so called in Boston Harbor, 
with the buildings thereon, £200 

About ten ton of hay, 15 

An old mare, £6; mare colt 2 

years old, £10, 16 

A horse colt 10 weeks old, 3 

A dray cart, 10s; a hand cart 10s, 1 

A large boat and apparatus, with 

cordage, £6; a small do., 12s, 6 12." 


A provision was made in the wUl, that, ia case of the 
death of Capt. Peter Mortimer before the widow of 
James, the property should go to another brother, 
PhiUp Mortimer, who was residing in Middletown, Con- 
necticut. Mrs. Hannah Mortimer survived her husband 
only three days, dying on the twenty-first of August, 
1773, at the age of eighty-one years; so the estate fell 
to Peter, and not to Philip. Strange to say, Peter out- 
lived his sister-in-law only one day, dying on the 
twenty-second of Axigust, being fifty-nine years of age; 
but he lived suflS.ciently long to alienate the island from 
the male line of the Mortimers. "What caused the 
death of the three Mortimers just in the proper order 
to make a -good title for Peter's heir-at-law is not 
known to the writer, but the three old gravestones, now 
to be seen standing in Copp's Hill Burial-Ground, attest 
to the fact, undoubtedly to the great pleasure of the 
then Mrs. Mary Mortimer, Peter's widow, who probably 
erected them as proofs of her title to Apple Island, as 
well as grateful memorials to the memory of her benefi- 
cent relatives. Peter Mortimer, it appears, left a widow 
Mary; for, before leaving his native country, he took to 
wife Mary Wilcox; and on the day his sister-in-law 
Hannah died, and he was sure that he was the legiti- 
mate owner of the island, he made a will giving her all 
his worldly substance, except two houses in Pish street, 
which he gave to his niece, Ann Carnall, daughter of 
his sister Katharine Carnall, of "Waterford, Ireland. 
After the death of Peter, in due time his widow married 
Daniel "Waters, securing the descent of the property in 
the island to her brother Joseph Wilcox, of Waterford, 
Ireland, and his heirs-at-law. Her husband dying, 
Mrs. Waters executed a will on the fifth of April, 1794, 


devising her real estate, including the island, to her 
brother, the above-named Joseph "Wilcox, and died on 
the seventh of June, 1802, at the age of seventy-eight 
years, and was buried with her first husband and his 
hindred on Copp's Hill. This Mr, Wilcox, it appears, 
married on the twenty-eighth of March, 1761, and had 
an only child, Eobert, baptized at Waterford on the 
thirteenth of September, 1788, who, on arriving at ma- 
turity, became a mariner, as his father had done before 
him, choosing ^orth Shields, in ^Northumberland, Eng- 
land, as his place of residence when ashore. Thus the 
real ownership of the island became vested in an Eng- 
lishman, who knew very little about it, and probably 
placed no great value to it, and consequently sufiered 
the house to decay, and the trees to waste. 

In this state of things, this romantic spot was se- 
lected by an English gentleman by the name of W^il- 
liam Marsh, as a place of residence; and in the fall of 
the year 1814, at the close of the war, he placed his 
family there. After making the fields smile and the 
gardens rejoice, the first object of Mr. Marsh was to 
find the legal owner of the territory which he occupied, 
that he might become the lawful possessor of what he 
deemed a modem Eden. In his search he was not suc- 
cessful until he had striven many years. About the 
year 1822, however, he obtained possession of the knowl- 
edge of the person who appeared to be the owner, and 
he made with him, on the eighth of October of the next 
year, an agreement, by which he was to pay five hun- 
dred and fifty dollars for the island, and become the 
rightful owner of his much desired residence. So careful, 
and yet so scrupulously honest was he in this transac- 
tion, that he required the legal proofs of the identity of 


Robert "Wilcox, the reputed owner. This evidence he 
did not obtain until the fifteenth of January, 1830, a few 
years before his decease, when the purchase money was 
paid, and the deeds passed and recorded. 

Mr. Marsh seems to have passed a happy and con- 
tented life upon his island, secure from intrusion on ac- 
count of its difficulty of approach, and enjoying the 
position on account of the fertility of the soil and its 
neighborhood to good fishing grounds, and fields for 
sporting life. He died on the twenty-second of Novem- 
ber, 1833, at the good old age of sixty-six years, and 
was buried, according to his own request, on the western 
slope of the hill upon his own island home, a large num- 
ber of his Boston friends being present on the mournful 
occasion. Many persons wUl undoubtedly remember his 
faithful negro servant. Black Jack, who was so infa- 
mously treated by some of the navy officers stationed in 
the harbor; and the successful endeavors of the late 
Samuel F. McCleary, Esq., father of the present excel- 
lent city clerk, who took charge of his case, and re- 
covered for him damages for the abuse. 

Since the decease of Mr. Marsh, and the burning of 
the house, which last event occurred on the evening of 
the eleventh of l^ovember, 1835, the island has passed 
into other hands, and has for the most part been out of 
use. After a neglect of many years, the city purchased 
the island on the twenty-first of May, 1867, paying to 
Mr. Edward T. Marliave the sum of $3,750. It is not 
now put to any useful or remunerative purpose, but is 
held solely for the prevention of the removal of the 
gravel and ballast stones which are found upon it. Oc- 
casionally an old hulk is broken up and burned on its 
fiats for the purpose of saving the iron and copper used 


in its construction. There is no spot, however, in the 
harbor, which, at the. present day, offers so strong an 
invitation as this does to the romantic for a dehghtful 
place as a marine rvTral residence, during the oftentimes 
very sultry summer seasons. 

About three-quarters of a mile northeast of Apple 
Island, in the flats projecting from Pulling Point south- 
erly into the harbor, and very nearly half a mile from 
the mainland of the town of Winthrop, is a small island, 
consisting chiefly of marshy ground, and containing not 
more than three or four acres, having the name of 
Snake Island. This is very irregular in shape, and 
comparatively of little value. It is seldom visited, and 
is very rarely mentioned; and were it not that it is 
designated upon the charts of the harbor, it, would not 
be worth the mention that has been given to it in 
this connection. 



Deer Island and its Shape and Boundaries • • • New Quarantine Ground • • • Size 
of Deer Island ■ • . Its Hills, Bluffs, and Ponds • • • Origin of its Name • • • 
Island Granted to Boston in 163t • • • The Island in 1635 • • • Freezing of the 
Harbor • • -Deer Island Supplying Firewood for the Inhabitants ... A Prison 
for Swine and Goats • ■ • Deer Island Improved for the Maintenance of a 
Free School • • • Occupied by John Euggle ■ ■ • Leased to Captain Edward 
Gibbens, and subsequently to Elder Penn and John Oliver, and also to Ed- 
ward Bendall • • • Leased to John Shaw and Sir Thomas Temple • •• Indian 
Claim settled in 1685 • • • Samuel Shrimpton's Lease . • • Intolerant Act of Sir 
Edmund Andros in 1689 ■••Town Offered Deer Island for the Erection of 
Hospital or Pest House • • • The Origin of Quarantine in Boston Harbor • • • 
City Institutions • . • Sea-Wall. 

About one mile and a quarter soutlieast of Apple 
Island, and four and a half miles due east of Long 
wharf, lies Deer Island, being in form very much like 
a "whale, with its head to the north, and its back to 
the northeast. It is separated from Point Shirley, the 
southerly promontory of the town of Winthrop, by 
Shirley Gut, a passage, the narrowest part of which, 
nearest the harbor, measures about three hundred and 
twenty-five feet. On its northeast is the Bay, and on 
its southeast the Broad Sound, which separates it from 
Lovell's Island and the cluster of rocks and islands at 
the mouth of the harbor. The main ship channel sepa- 
rates it from Long Island Head and ]S"ix's Mate, both of 
which are slightly less than a mile distant from it; and 
on its southwest is the New Quarantine Ground, which 


was established a,t the time the island was selected by 
John P. Ober and Billings Briggs, Esquires, of the City 
Government, for hospital accommodations, and placed 
under the special charge of Dr. Joseph Moriarty in the 
summer of 1847, when the ship fever raged so malig- 
nantly, and subsequently under Dr. Henry G. Clark, tem- 
porarily, he having declined a permanent appointment. 

■ Deer Island is nearly a mUe in breadth. By an ac- 
tual measurement, taken by James Slade, Esq., while 
City Engineer, it appears that the island contains one 
hundred and thirty-four acres of upland and ififty acres 
of marsh, being one hundred and eighty-four acres in 
all, besides a large amount of flats, more than equal in 
extent to the upland and marsh. It has two hills and 
four bliiffs, which are known by the following names: 
!N^orth Head, East Head, and South Head (or Money 
Head), situated as the names indicate. Graveyard Bluff, 
a small projection on the southwesterly part of the island, 
and Signal HUl in the -central part. The small eleva- 
tion at the northerly part of the island, where the old 
house of Major Ebenezer Thayer used to stand, has nev- 
er been dignified by any special appellative. The South 
Head took the name of Money Head in consequence of 
the money-digging affair that occurred there some years 
ago. I^'orth and south of Signal Hill are two small 
fresh-water ponds, the northerly known as Ice Pond, 
and the southerly as Cow Pond, — the former generally 
suppl3dng the occupants of the island with ice for sum- 
mer use, and the latter affording refreshing water for 
the cattle. 

Deer Island is very frequently mentioned in the old 
records, both of the town of Boston and the Colony of 
Massachusetts Bay; and occasionally the old historical 


writers and journalists speak of it in connection with 
other matters. It undoubtedly took its name from the 
fact that deer formerly visited, and perhaps occupied, its 
ancient groves, which have long since been cut down for 
fuel or lumber. Mr. "William Wood, in his iNew Eng- 
land's Prospect, printed in 1634, says that, " The chiefe 
Hands which keepe out the Winde and the Sea from 
disturbing the Harbours, are first Dears Hand, which 
lies within a flight-shot of Pullin-point. This Hand is 
so called, because of the Deare which often swimme 
thither from the Maiue, when they are chased by the 
Woolves: Some have killed sixteen Deare in a day 
upon this Hand. The opposite shore is called Pullin- 
point, because that is the usuall Channel Boats use to 
passe thorow into the Bay; and the Tyde beiag very 
strong, they are constrayned to goe a -shore, and hale 
their Boats by the seasing, or roades, whereupon, it was 
called Pullin-point." Mr. John Josselyn, in his account 
of two voyages to !N"ew England, printed forty years 
later, alludes briefly tcf the same facts. 

On the first of April, 1634, this island, together with 
Long Island and Hog Island, were granted in perpetu- 
ity to Boston for the nominal rent of two pounds; and 
this amount was reduced to four shillings, and Spectacle 
Island thrown in besides, on the fourth of the subse- 
quent March, when the original grant was confirmed by 
the Colonial Legislature. Then terminated all the 
right of the Colony to the island, and the Province and 
Commonwealth have never set up any claim since to its 
territory, but the ownership has remained vested suc- 
cessively in the town and city of Boston. 

The above are the earliest mentions found made con- 
cerning Deer Island. The next learned of it is from the 


journal of Governor John "Wintlirop, under date of Jan- 
uary 1634-5, in the following words : " In the ende of 
this monthe, 3 men had their boat froze vp at Bird 
Hand, as they were eominge from Deare Iland, so as 
they were compelled to lodge there all night; & in the 
morning they came over the Ice to !N"odle's He, & thence 
to Molten's Poiat in Charles towne, & thence over the 
Ice, by Mr. Hoffe's, to Boston. At the same tyme 6 
others were kept a weeke at the Governour's Garden ; 
& in the ende gate with their boat to Mattapan Poihte ; 
for, neer all that tyme, there was no open place betweene 
the Garden & Boston, neither was there any passage at 
Charles towne for 2 or 3 dayes, the winde about the 1^. 
W. 3 weekes, w* muche snowe & extreme frost." The 
object of this quotation is three-fold; namely, to give 
the mention of Deer Island, to show that what is now 
called Bird Island Shoal was then an island capable of 
giving hospitality, and lastly to exhibit to the reader the 
first chronicled account of the earliest known freezing 
over of Boston Harbor. The harbor was frozen also 
during the early part of the next month, a fact worthy 
of being kept in remembrance, as February seems to 
have been usually the favorite month for this occurrence. 
The last three times the harbor was frozen over were 
about the same season of the year, in 1844, 1856 and 1857. 
At this time Deer Island appears to have been of no 
special use to Boston, except for the inhabitants of the 
town to procure firewood from; for on the twenty-eighth 
of !N"ovember, 1636, an order was passed in town meet- 
ing, as follows: "Also it is agreed y* y° Inhabitants 
who doe want wood, shall have liberty to gett for their 
vse, at Deare Island, so as y* they psently take & car- 
rye away what they doe gett, & whatsoeftr they have 



felled there to be at liberty for others to take away." If 
good old Elder Leverett had known the mischief that 
would ensue from this order, it is very questionable 
whether he would have penned it in so handsome an 
Old English letter upon the town records as he did on 
this occasion; for now it is with great difficulty that 
trees can be made to grow upon the island on accouiit 
of the easterly sea winds which are so unpropitious to 
their cultivation. A few willows and silver-leaf poplars, 
of quite recent planting, seem only to have found root- 
hold upon the soil. 

At last, on the twenty-ninth of March, 1641, an 
order was passed by the town authorizing that trespass- 
ing swine, which should be suffered to roam about the 
town insufficiently . yoked, and goats found without a 
keeper, should be sentenced to Deer Island for a time. 
But on the tenth of January, 1641-2, another order was 
passed by the town, more in accordance with the way of 
doing things now, in the following words: "It is or- 
dered that Deare-Iland shall be improved for the main- 
tenance of a free schoole for the Towne, and such other 
occasions as y^ townsmen for the time being shall tliink 
meet, the said schoole being sufficiently provided for." 
Undoubtedly Mr. Daniel Maud, the successor of Mr. 
Philemon Pormort, the first master of the Latin School, 
received the benefit of this vote; but what the "other 
occasions" were, and whether they were anything like 
those which now occur annually and occasionally, is 
entirely unknown. To give an idea of what the income 
was from the island, it is only necessary to say, that by 
the records it appears, that before the thirty -first of 
January, 1641-2, John Ruggle had put up a building 
upon the island, probably a pound for the swine and 


goats, for which he was to receive the sum of £7 15s. 
6d., and that an order was passed in town meeting "that 
Capt. Gibones (who had undertaken it)," should pay 
the money to Ruggle, and should let it, when " Capt. 
Gibones should be repayed." As the town leased the 
island on the thirtieth of December, 1644:, to James 
Penn and John Oliver for three years, at the rate of 
seven pounds a year, reqviiring the lessees to pay Capt. 
Gibones the money he had paid Mr, Euggle, it is pre- 
sumed that the school must have had an income during 
the time the captain occupied it. At the same time the 
island was leased to Elder Penn and Mr. Oliver, liberty 
was granted to the inhabitants of the town to cut wood 
upon it, provided that they carried it off, or set it on 
heaps " that it may not be spoyled, nor hinder the feed 
of cattell." 

At the expiration of the last mentioned lease, the 
island was let to Mr. Edward Bendall for the term of 
seven years, at fourteeti pounds per annum, for the 
school's use, in provision and clothing, reserving the 
right for the inhabitants to cut wood for their own use, 
"nott bringing a draught upon y° island"; and on the 
twenty-sixth of February, 1648-9, the lease was ex- 
tended so as to make up twenty-one years, he to leave 
at the end of his term a supply of wood for the mainte- 
nance of one family forever, and also what fruit trees he 
should plant there. It appears also by the town records, 
that on the twenty-seventh of April, 1655, Mr. Bendall 
had not paid his rent, as the constable was ordered to 
distrain for the rent due the town; and a month later 
Mr. James Bill, a resident of the neighboring Point, 
was debarred from cutting any more wood, as there only 
remained enough for .a farm. 


Subsequent to this, John Shaw got possession of 
the lease of Deer Island, and assigned it to Sir Thomas 
Temple, and the town confirmed it to him on the twenty- 
third of February, 1662-3, for the term of thirty-one 
years, for the same rent, fourteen pounds a year, for the 
use of the free school, he not to fell any timber save 
what shall be for building, fencing and firewood, on the 
island, and at the end of the term he to yield up all the 
buildings and fencing. On the twenty-eighth of the 
subsequent September, the town passed a vote allowing 
Sir Thomas Temple "to cleare the swamp on the said 
island of all timber trees whatever, and allsoe what 
other wode is vpon the said island excepting some 
timber trees," and so, probably, came to an end all the 
trees which formerly grew upon the island. 

Subsequent to the last date, several of the Massachu- 
setts Indians laid claim to Deer Island and other prop- 
erty. This claim was met in a conciliatory manner by 
the townsmen of Boston, who, on the eighteenth of 
June, 1684, appointed Mr. Simon Lynde, an influential 
person, to arrange with the Indians and purchase their 
claiai; whereupon, on the nineteenth of March, 1684-5, 
Charles Josias, alias Wampatuck (grandson of the fa- 
mous Chickatabot) , and three other Indians, executed 
a quitclaim to the selectmen of the town of the property 
claimed, including the island, acknowledging that his 
grandfather had, about fifty-five years previous, sold the 
property in question to the English planters and set- 
tlers. In this deed Deer Island is described as lying 
about two leagues from Boston, between " Pudding Gut 
and the Broad Sound," and containing one hundred and 
sixty or two hundred acres of land, more or less. At 
the same time another Indian, David, son and heir of 


Sagamore George, relinquished the right which he had 
claimed to Deer Island. 

At this time, Mr." Samuel Shrimpton, an extensive 
landholder, had become possessed of Sir Thomas Tem- 
ple's lease, and on the twenty-fifth of May, soon after 
the above described transaction, the town renewed the 
lease on the former terms, for eighteen years from the 
first of March, 1693-4, he having paid £19 to the sa- 
chem Josiah and the other Indians for ratifying the 
ancient grant of Chickatabot. ]S"ot long after this, in 
1689, the intolerant and troublesome Sir Edmund An- 
dros, who unrightfully held the position of Governor of 
New England, caused writs to be issued against the 
tenant, which the town determined to resist j and, 
finally, the usurper having been seized and imprisoned, 
and fortunately the revolution occurring in England, the 
whole matter ceased, and the town and its tenant were 
left in quiet possession of the island, which the town 
has continued to hold, without further hindrance, until 
the present time. 

It would be of no special use to continue further the 
list of the tenants of Deer Island. It is sufficient that 
the island was improved in this way until the city took 
possession of it, in the summer of 1847, for sanitary pur- 
poses. One more quotation from the early records of 
the town may, however, be interestiag, as it bears so 
strong a resemblance to what actually took place ex- 
actly one hundred and thirty years later. On the fif- 
teenth of May, 1717, at a public meeting of the towns- 
men, it was " Yoted, That the Selectmen be impowered 
to Lease out a piece of Land on Dere Island not Ex- 
ceeding one acre, for a term not exceeding ninety -nine 
years, to be improved for the Erecting an Hospital or 


Pest House there for the reception & entertainm* of 
sick persons coming from beyond the Sea and in order 
to prevent the spreading of Infection." This was the 
first attempt at quarantine in Boston harbor,- a project 
which was not consummated untU the year 1737, as will 
be mentioned hereafter in the description of Eainsford 

Those conversant with city matters will remember 
that, as early as the first of December, 1848, a portion 
of the inmates of the House of Industry at South Bos- 
ton were removed to the island, that a large brick build- 
ing was erected at Deer Island previous to 1853, and 
that the paupers of the city and commonwealth were 
soon afterwards, previous to the twenty-fifth of Janu- 
ary, 1854, removed to it, and it then became the House 
of Industry. A subsequent change m the policy of the 
State with reference to the maintenance of its paupers, 
in 1854, relieved the city from a large part of its burden 
in this respect; and the State poor were taken fi^om the 
institution, and placed in the various almshouses provi- 
ded for them by the Commonwealth. On the first of 
July, 1858, the inmates of the House of Reformation, 
and also of the Almshouse School connected with it, 
wei 3 removed to the island, where they are now cared 
for under the management of the Board of Directors 
for Public Institutions. The institutions now on the 
island are distinguished as the Almshouse, House of 
Industry and House of Reformation. During the years 
1868 and 1869, appropriations were made by the City 
Council for the erection of a building for a farm house, 
and another for the pauper girls. These were buUt in 
the year 1869, and have remedied a great want that 
existed in the department of public institutions. An 


almshouse for the adult poor will undoubtedly soon be 
erected on a site near the boys' and girls' schools, and 
then the charitable institutions on the island will be 
entirely disconnected with the reformatory. 

A considerable portion of the easterly shore of this 
island being much affected by the beating of the waves 
in storms, a sea-wall has been erected there for its 
better protection, and that of the harbor, which is much 
injured by the washings from the bluffs of this and other 
islands. So great is the wear from the headlands of 
Deer Island, that an extensive bar has been created by 
the above-named cause, extending a very considerable 
distance from its northerly point towards Gut Plain 
upon Point Shirley, and another, called Fawn Bar, from 
its eastern head towards the ledge of rocks known as 
the Graves, in an easterly direction. 

Before commencing a description of the islands on 
the southerly side of the harbor, it will be best to return 
to the starting point, the end of Long Wharf, and take 
a new line of departm'e, so as to get a glance of the 
other features of the harbor, so necessary for a correct 
knowledge of its intricacies. 



South Battery Point ■ • • Fort Point and Fort Point Cliannel ■ ■ • Cliart by Bon- 
ner, 1714 • • • Dorchester Old Harbor ■ • • Dorchester Bay • • • Qnincy Bay • • • 
Other small Bays • • ■ Glades Channel • • • Upper Middle Shoal • • • Castle 
Island • • ■ Castle Island and its Boundaries • • • Ancient Fortifications • • • 
Maverick's Fort • • • Fort Hill Fort • • • Attempt to locate a Fort in the 
Harbor • • • Moving Fort • • • Fort at Castle Island undertaken, 1634 • • • Capt. 
Johnson's Description of the Fort in 1654 • • • Capt. Richard Davenport • • • 
Capt. Roger Clap • • • Captains of the Fort • • • Affair of Lieut. Morris • • • 
Castle Island let to Capt. Gibbon in 1643 • • . Arrival of La Tour, 1643, and 
Fright of the Inhabitants. 

Leavktci again the easterly end of Long Wharf, the 
reader will soon find himself in the stream of the main 
ship channel; but before startiag down the harbor to 
examine the islands on the southerly side of this chan- 
nel, it will be well to take some little notice of other 
matters of interest as they come ia due course. If he 
turn his eyes to the southward, to the neighborhood of 
Eowe's wharf, the next just south of India wharf, he 
will see what was known in olden times as South 
Battery, the site of the Old Sconce or South Battery of- 
tentimes called Fort Point, in consequence of the ancient 
fortification which stood upon Fort Hill, just inland of 
it. Leading from South Bay, which lies between Boston 
[N'eck, the Highlands, Dorchester and South Boston, and 
probably originating from the small brooks which run 
into this bay, is Fort Point Channel (not Pore Point, nor 
Foure Points Channel, as it has been frequently mis- 


called), which empties into the main ship channel. An 
excellent manuscript chart of this channel, by John 
Bonner in 1714, probably used in preparing his famous 
plan of the town, published by Mr. Price in 1722, is pre- 
served in the archives of the Massachusetts Historical 
Society, and an exact copy of it has been printed for 
the Society's published proceedings. South of South 
Boston, which was formerly known as Dorchester 
Point, is Old Harbor, separated by Savin Hill from Dor- 
chester Bay, stiU farther south, and the recipient of the 
waters of Neponset River j and to the southeast of this 
bay, and separated from it by Squantum, an interesting 
locality belonging to Quincy, is Quincy Bay, into which 
Black's Creek and several small streams empty. Far- 
ther on, east of this bay and Hough's Neck, is Quincy 
Town Eiver Bay, into which "Weymouth Fore River 
flows, having its origin in Monatoquot River, which in 
its turn originates from the confluence of Blue Hill and 
Cochato Rivers. East of these, Weymouth and Black 
River, Hiugham Harbor and "Weare River connect with 
Boston harbor. 

The reader is now in a fair condition to proceed 
down the harbor; therefore, following the main channel, 
and pursuing a southeasterly course from the starting 
point, and leaving to the left Bird Island Shoal and 
Governor's Island, and Glades Channel running be- 
tween them to Bird Island Passage, and also leaving at 
the right the Upper Middle Shoal, he will find himself at 
Castle Island, about two and one-half miles from the 
point of departure. In form, this small island is quite 
irregular, resembling as much as anything a shoulder 
of pork, with the shank southward. At its north the 
water is deep, but very shoal at its south on account of 


the flats. I^orth of it is Governor's Island, on which is 
Fort Winthrop, less than a mile distant; northwest is 
the Upper Middle Shoal; northeast, the Lower Middle 
Shoal; east, President Koads; southeast. Spectacle Isl- 
and; sonth, Thompson's Island, on which is the Farm 
School for boys; and west. South Boston, about two- 
thirds of a mile in distance. The island contains, by 
estimation, about eighteen acres; and it has always been 
retained as the property of Massachusetts, through its 
Colonial and Provincial periods, until ceded by the Com- 
monwealth, in the year 1798, to the United States, by an 
act passed the twenty-fifth of June of that year. 

The forefathers, whUe ia England, after they had 
resolved to move the company to l!^ew England, among 
their earliest considerations took coimsel about fortify- 
ing the place to which they were about to go agaiust 
hostUe encroachments. It therefore appears that at a 
General Court of the Governor and Company, held at 
the house of the Deputy Governor, on Thursday, the 
fifteenth of October, 1629, for the purpose of settling 
the trade ia IS^ew England upon transferring the govern- 
ment thither, after long consideration and debate, it 
was determined, among other important matters, " that 
for the charge of ffortyficacons, the Companyes ioynt 
stock to beare the' one halfe, and the planters to defray 
the other, viz, for ordnance, munition, powder, &c: but 
for labourers ia buUding fforts, &c, all men to bee em- 
ployed in an equall pporcon, according to the nomb" 
of men vpon the plantacon, and soe to continue vntil 
such fitt and necessarie works bee finished." 

Very soon after the settlement of Boston, the civil 
authorities began to consider the same question. Mr. 
Samuel Maverick protected hunself on lifoddle's Island 


as early as the year 1630, by a small breastwork with 
four guns; and Fort Hill, in Boston, had fortifications 
built upon it as early as 1632 ; for on the third of Sep- 
tember, 1634, Mr. John Samford was chosen cannoneer 
for the fort at Boston, and an order was passed by the 
General Court of the Colony, " That for two yeares ser- 
vice that hee hath already done att the said ffort, & for 
one yeare more hee shall doe, to be accompted from this 
day, hee shall have allowed him out of the treasury the 
sum of xxZ*." 

The fortification on the peninsula not being consid- 
ered sufficient, the question of erecting defences in the 
harbor was soon mooted; and the first absolute move- 
ment which led to the establishment of one at Castle 
Island is thus chronicled by Governor John Winthrop 
in his valuable journal, under date of the twenty-first 
of February, 1632-3, in the following words: "The 
Govern'' «fc 4 of the Assistants, with 3 of the Minist's, 
& others, about 26 in aU, went in 3 boats to view 
!N"antaskott, the winde "W., faire weather; but the winde 
arose at I^. W. so strong, & extreme colde, that they 
were kept there 2 nights, being forced to lodge vpon the 
ground, in an open cottage vpon a little olde strawe, 
which they pulled from the thatche. Their victualls 
allso grew shorte, so as they were forced to eate muskles, 
yet they were very weary, & came all safe home the 3 : 
daye after, throughe the Lord's spec'Ue providence. 
Vpon view of the place, it was agreed by all, that to 
build a forte there would be of too great charge, & of 
little vse; wherevpon the planting of that place was de- 
ferred." "Whether or not the authorities thought best 
to erect a regular fort is not known, but on the fourth 
of March, 1633-4, the court voted, " a moveing fibrt to 


bee builte, 40 flFoote longe & 21 flfoote wide for defence 
of this colony," and for the purpose £144 and " 1100 
four-inch plank" were "given and promised." "What 
was accomplished by the last mentioned vote and sub- 
scription remains unknown, although it appears that a 
Mr. Stevens was to superintend the work for £10. 
Whatever was done, it is certain that on the four- 
teenth of the subsequent May, the Court appointed 
Mr. Thomas Beecher, Mr. William Pieree and Eobert 
Moulton a committee to treat with Mr. Stevens and 
Mr. May hew about buUding it; and that is the last 
that is known of the undertaking. 

l^ot satisfied with the failures above recited, it ap- 
pears that another party, consisting of very nearly the 
same persons that went to !N'antasket, made another at- 
tempt on the twenty-ninth of July, 1634, about a year 
and a half later; for Mr. Winthrop relates as follows: 
" The Govern'' & Council, & diverse of the Minrs, & 
others, mett at Castle Hand, & there agreed vpon erect- 
ing 2 platformes & one small fortification to secure them 
bothe, &; for the present furtherance of it they agreed to 
laye out 5U a man till a rate might be made at the next 
Gen" Court. The Deputye, Roger Ludlow, was chosen 
overseer of this worke." This committee did the busi- 
ness, for, on the third of September following, the Gen- 
eral Court ordered, " That there should be a plattforme 
made on the north-east syde of Castle Ileland, & an house 
built on the topp of the hill to defend the said platt- 
forme;" and Captains John Underbill, Daniel Patrick, 
John Mason, William Trask and IS'athaniel Turner, and 
Lieutenants Eobert Feakes and Eiehard Morris were 
chosen as a committee to fix upon the place for the fort 
and lay out the work. To show its earnestness in this 


endeavor, the General Court passed a vote on the fourth 
of March, 1634-5, "That the ffort att Castle Iland,nowe 
begun, shalbe fully pfected, the ordnance mounted, & 
eurj other thing aboute it ffinished, before any other 
ffortificacon be further proceeded in." 

Captain Edward Johnson, of Woburn, in his "Won- 
der-WorMng Providence of Sions Saviour," printed 
in the year 1654, thus speaks of the fort on Castle 
Island: — 

"There was a castle built on an Island, upon the 
passage into Massachusetts Bay, wholly built at first by 
the country in general, but by reason the country af- 
fords no lime, but what is burnt of oyster shels, it fell to 
decay in a few years after, which made many of the 
Towns that lay out of the defence thereof to desert it, 
although their safety (under Grod), was much involved 
in the constant repair and well managing thereof; here- 
upon the next six Towns take upon them to rebuild it at 
their proper cost and charges, the rest of the country 
upon the finishing thereof gave them a small matter 
toward it; upon this there was a captain ordained, and 
put in possession thereof by the country, having a 
yearly stipend allowed him and his souldiers, which he is 
to keep in a constant readiness upon the Island, being 
about eight acres of ground. The castle is built on the 
northeast of the Island, upon a rising hill, very advanta- 
geous to make many shot at such ships as shall offer to 
enter the harbor without their good leave and liking; 
the commander of it is one Captain Davenport, a man 
approved for his faithfulness, courage, and skill; the 
master cannoneer is an active engineer; also the castle 
hath cost about four thousand pounds, yet are not this 
poor pilgrim people weary of maintaining it in good re- 


pair; it is of very good use to awe any insolent persons, 
that putting confidence in their ships and sails, shall 
offer any injury to the people, or contemn their gov- 
ernment, and they have certain signals of alarums 
which suddenly spread through the whole country." 

Captain Roger Clap, who commanded the fort 
twenty-one years, from 1665 to 1686, gives the follow- 
ing description of the fort previous to his leaving it: — 

" I will inform you that God stirred up his poor ser- 
vants to use means in their beginning for their preser- 
vation; though a low and weak people, yet a wUling 
people to lay out their estates for the defence of them- 
selves and others. They having friends in divers places 
who thought it best for our safety to buUd a fort upon 
the island now called Castle-Island; at first they built a 
castle with mud- walls, which stood divers years: First 
Capt. Simkins was commander thereof, and after hina, 
Lieut. Monish [Morris], for a little space. "WTien the 
mud-walls faUed, it was built again with pine trees and 
earth; and Capt. Davenport was commander. When 
that decayed, which was within a little time, there was a 
small castle built with brick walls, and had three rooms 
in it; a dwelling room below, a lodging room over it, the 
gun room over that, wherein stood six very good Saker 
guns, and over it upon the top three lesser guns. All 
the time of our weakness, God was pleased to give us 
peace, until the wars with the Dutch in Charles H.'s 
time. At that time our works were very weak, and in- 
telligence came to us that Durother [De Ruithier], a 
Dutch commander of a squadron of ships, was in the 
"West-Indies, and did intend to visit us; whereupon our 
Battery also was repaired, wherein are seven good guns. 
But in the very time of this report, in July, 1665, God 


was pleased to send a grievous storm of thunder & 
lightening, which did some hurt at Boston, and struck 
dead here at the Castle-Island that worthy renowned 
Captain Richard Davenport; upon which the General 
Court in Aug. 10th following, appointed another 
[Roger Clap, himself] Captain in the room of him that 
was slain. But behold God wrought for us; for al- 
though Durother intended to come here, yet God by 
contrary winds kept him out; so he went to iNewfound- 
land, and did great spoil there. And again when 
danger grew on us by reason of the late wars with 
Holland, God permitted our Castle at that very time 
to be burnt down; which was on the 21 st day of 
March 1672-3 : But still God was pleased to keep this 
place in safety; the Lord enlarge our hearts unto thank- 

Captam Clap's description may be correct in general, 
but he certainly erred in his names of persons men- 
tioned. The Lieutenant Monish, who, he says, suc- 
ceeded Captain Simpkins; was Lieutenant Richard Mor- 
ris, and he succeeded Captain Edward Gibbons on the 
third of March, 1635-6, Gibbons having probably suc- 
ceeded Captain !N"icholas Simpkins. By the Dutchman, 
whom he called Durother, he probably meant De Rui- 
thier, or De Ruiter, a noted naval commander of that 

The colonial records abound in votes for the im- 
pressment of men to work on the fort, and on the third 
of ^November, 1635-6, an order was passed by the Gen- 
eral Court, requiring six towns, Dorchester, Roxbury, 
Boston, ^Newton, "Watertown and Charlestown, to pro- 
vide each two men weekly to work at the fort, and these 
were to be paid out of the treasury of the colony. 


These towns, though sometimes remiss, performed the 
task required of them, and in due time the fort was 
completed, and supplied with the proper ordnance, 
munitions, and garrison. But this did not last long- 
for the sham-built fort soon fell to decay, and the 
General Court became discouraged about it. 

From what has been said above, it would appear that 
Captain Nicholas Simpkins was the commander of the 
fort from the time it was built uutil 1635, when he gave 
displeasure to the General Court by a remissness in his 
accounts, and was removed and the place given to Lieu- 
tenant Ildward Gibbons, who in his turn was dismissed 
the next year, and Lieutenant Richard Morris appointed 
to his place. Morris was not more successful than his 
predecessors, for he fell into difl3.culty about the red 
cross in the country's colors, as our fathers at that time 
trained under, and gave allegiance to the English jack, 
although Captain Endicott considered it heathenish; 
and, not long after his appointment, giving support to 
Mrs. Ann Hutchinson in her" theological quarrels, he 
was disarmed in I^ovember, 1637, and banished from the 
colony in September, 1638, to Kev. Mr. Wheelwright's 
settlement at Exeter, "New Hampshire; and Captain 
Eobert Sedgwick was ordered to take charge of the 
castle in his stead, in June, 1641. In the interim, there 
probably was no official commander. 

During the administration of Lieutenant Morris, an 
affair took place which so clearly illustrates the manner 
of doing things in the olden time, that a narration of it 
is taken from Governor "Winthrop's journal, as printed by 
bis learned commentator, Hon. James Savage, the orig- 
inal of this part of the journal having been destroyed by 
fire : " Three ships arrived here from Ipswich with three 


hundred and sixty passengers. The last being loath 
to come to an anchor at Castle Island, though hailed by 
the castle boat, and required, etc., the gunner made a 
shot, intending to shoot before her for a warning, but 
the powder in the touchhole being wet, and the ship 
having fresh way with wind and tide, the shot took 
place in the shrouds, and killed a passenger, an honest 
man. The next day the governor charged an inquest, 
and sent them aboard with two of the magistrates (one 
of them being deputed coroner), to take view of the 
dead body, and who, having all the evidence, etc., found 
that he came to his death by the providence of God." 
This verdict of the jury of inquest undoubtedly gave 
great satisfaction to Lieutenant Morris and his gimner, 
and perhaps to the staid townsmen of Boston; but it 
probably proved of no great account to the poor fellow 
who had been sent to his long home, or to the fellow-pas- 
sengers, who were obliged to abide by it, and be thanks- 
ful that they had escaped a similar providence. 

On the twelfth of March, 1637-8, the fortification 
gave so little promise to the Colonial Legislature that 
the authorities came to the conclusion to abandon the 
design, and therefore authorized a committee to remove 
the ammunition therefrom, and dispose of what else they 
deemed fit; but on the second of the May following, so 
much of this determination was reconsidered as to al- 
low private individuals to man and maintain the fort, if 
they would satisfy the court within eight days that they 
would do so. These undertakers must have done some- 
thing, for they kept the fort along a few years, getting 
at one time a hundred pounds from the colony, and at 
another time two hundred and fifty pounds, this last 
amount for building a house and repairing the batteries, 



and also a grant to take wood from the islands in the 
harbor, li^otwithstanding' these efforts, the fort went to 
decay, insomuch that on the tenth of Maj, 1643, orders 
were given for the removal, within two months, of the 
ammunition and ordnance, which were to be distributed 
to Charlestown, Cambridge and Ipswich, and a commit- 
tee was appointed "to let the iland as they can yearly." 
In this they succeeded, for on the seventh of September 
following, " the Court gave Castle Hand & the house 
there to Capt. Gibons, unlesse it bee implied to publiq 
use for fortification at any time hereafter." 

The inhabitants of Boston, as well as their Governor, 
were very much alarmed, on the fourth of June, 1643, 
by the arrival in the harbor of a ship of one himdred 
and forty tons, having on board the same number of 
persons. The Governor and his family were on their 
island when Mr. La Tour came up the harbor in his 
ship. The neighboring towns of Boston and Charles- 
town betook them to their arms, and three shallops 
with armed men went forth to meet the Governor, 
and to guard him to his house in town. The Governor, 
in his journal, says: "But here the Lord, gave us occa- 
sion to notice our weakness, etc., for if La Tour had 
been illminded towards us, he had such an opportunity 
as we hope neither he nor any other shall ever have the 
like again; for coming to our castle and saluting it, 
there was none to answer him, for the last Court had 
given orders to have the Castle-Island deserted, a great 
part of the work being fallen down, &o., so. as he might 
have taken all the ordnance there. Then having the 
Governor and his family, and Captain Gibbon's wife, 
etc., in his power, he might have gone and spoiled Bos- 
ton, and having so many men ready, they might have 


taken two ships in the harbor, and gone away withoxit 
danger or resistance." This fright produced a good 
effect upon the inhabitants of the neighboring towns, 
if it did not upon the General Court, and measures 
were very soon afterwards taken for renewing the 
fortifications at Castle Island, as will be seen in the 
next chapter. 



Castle Island continued • • • Restoration of the Castle in 1644- •• Six Towns to 
Kepair it at their own Expense ■ • • Small Annual Allowance for its Mainte- 
nance • • • Appropriation for securing Bird Island Passage • ■ • Lieut. Kichard 
Davenport appointed Commander in 1645 • • • English Colors to be displayed 
from the Castle, in 1651 • • • Small additional Fort erected in 1653 • • • Death 
of Captain Davenport in 1665 • • . Appointment of Capt. Roger Clap • • • The 
Castle burnt in 1673 • • • Immediately repaired • • • Resignation of Capt. Clap 
In 1686, and Capt. John Pipon appointed In his place • • ■ Captain John Fair- 
weather • • • Commanders during the Provincial Period • - • Castle William 
built in 1701, by Col. Romer-.-Old Inscription ••• Pownal's Picture ••• 
Wharves built in 1720 • ■ • New Battery, 1735 • • • Governor Belcher's Pow- 
wow • • • Form and Appearance of the Castle • ■ • Destruction of the Castle 
in 1776 • • • Castle Rebuilt and called Fort Independence • • • Used for Convicts, 
1785 to 1798 • • • Used as a State Prison, 1785 to 1805 • • • Island ceded to the 
United States in 1798 • ■ • New Fort • • • Topography of the Island ■ • • Old 
Block House, Shirley's Battery • • • Site of the Old Castle • • • The Mas- 
sie Duel in 1817 • • • Old Memorial Stone • • • New Graveyard. 

Iif consequence of the fright caused by the arrival of 
La Tour in June, 1643, the inhabitants of Boston and 
the neighboring towns began seriously to think of the 
importance of having the Castle restored and garri- 
soned; therefore certain men from each of the towns 
were chosen to take the subject into consideration, and 
for this purpose they held a meeting in Boston, where it 
was proposed that, as the colony was weary of maintain- 
ing the Castle, the neighboring towns should repair and 
maintain the same at their own proper charge. But 
here a new difficulty arose, as to how it could be done 


without giving offence to the Greneral Court, which had 
ordered its abandonment. Fortunately, five of the 
neighboring Indian Sachems, Wossamegon, IfTashowa- 
non, Cutshamache, Mascanomet and Squa Sachim, about 
that time came to the determination of vokintarily sub- 
mitting themselves to Massachusetts, and of coming 
under the colonial government, as Pumham and Sacono- 
noco had done sometime before; and, therefore, it be- 
came necessary to hold a session of the General Court. 
Taking advantage of this necessity, six towns, Boston, 
Charlestown, Eoxbury, Dorchester, Cambridge, and 
Watertown, appointed a committee, who advised with 
the governor and several of the magistrates, who en- 
couraged them to go on, as did also the ministers and 
elders of the churches, and they petitioned the General 
Court to do something about repairing and carrying on the 
fortification. But it was all to no purpose ; and they were 
obliged to ask for liberty to do it at their own expense and 
charge. Even in this laudable and liberal endeavor the 
towns were seriously opposed by some of the country 
members; for the Court thought that it would be too 
great a charge, that it could afford but little help 
against a strong enemy, and that if the fort were recon- 
structed and manned, there was still another passage by 
Bird Island which could be used by inimical vessels in 
coming up to the town. ]^evertheless, after a great 
deal of persuasion, the towns prevailed, and the follow- 
ing order was passed by the General Court on the 
seventh of March, 1643-4: "It is ordered, that it shalbee 
lawfuU for the inhabitants of the townes w*4n the Bay, 
or any convenient number of them, to erect a fortification 
upon the Castle Hand, such as the psent time & their abil- 
ities will give liberty and oportunity unto, & to repair 


the batteries there, or any of them, & to maintaine the 
same, & to keepe such garrison there, as the necessary 
defence of the place shall require; and that they, shall 
have liberty to take back unto the said iland such ordi- 
nance & amunition as was lately fetched from thence, or 
so much thereof as they shall make use of, any former 
order to the contrary notwithstanding." At the same 
time the Court promised, that when- the towns should 
have repaired the batteries and mounted the ordnance, 
and also erected a fortification of stone, timber, and 
earth, fifty feet square within the walls, which were to 
be ten feet thick and of proportionable height, one hun- 
dred pounds per annum should be allowed for the main- 
tenance thereof. The Court also allowed another one 
hundred pounds for securing the Bird Island Passage, 
to be paid when both of the works should be completed. 
Yet the worthy magistrates and deputies (or, as they 
would probably be called now, senators and representa- 
tives) further took order, "that notwithstanding the 
charge to bee defrayed by the townes in the Bay, yet 
the said fortifications to bee still accounted to belong to 
the country, & this Cort, or the councell of warr, from 
time to time to have the command & disposal thereof, 
as occasion shall require;" and it was ordered that five 
barrels of powder, and a proper proportion of shot, 
should be allowed for the present to the Castle, to be 
spent for the defence of the place and the ordinary sal- 
utation of ships. The Court, however, condescended to 
allow the towns to appoint a commander for the time 
being, who was to observe the instructions which should 
be given him with his commission. This document, 
which is given in full in the old records, is. a rare bit of 
composition, and gives a good idea of the old times. 


From what appears in the colonial records, the Court 
undoubtedly signified to the towns a desire that Mr. 
Thomas Coytmore, of Charlestown, should be appointed 
the commander, as an order was passed on the twen- 
tieth of May, 1644, there being as yet no person ap- 
pointed for that place, that if the towns agreed to 
appoint him, he should be accepted. But it does not 
appear that he was appointed, as the position was 
offered to Lieutenant Richard Davenport on the thir- 
teenth of the following I^ovember, who accepted it sub- 
sequently, and who was commissioned in July, 1645. 
At the time of the appointment of Lieutenant Daven- 
port, fifty pounds were appropriated for his house, and, 
subsequently one hundred for the fort, and twenty for a 
boat, and the five towns (omitting Watertown from the 
six which undertook the repairing the fort) were to 
support him. Before accepting the great responsibility. 
Lieutenant Davenport proposed seventeen questions to 
the Court, which were duly answered. He was told 
that his garrison should consist of twenty men for eight 
months in the summer season, and ten men for the win- 
ter, commencing on the first of JN^ovember; that, as no 
constant minister is to be expected, and the Lord hav- 
ing furnished him with able gifts, he is to take care of 
the garrison as his own family, only that one-half in 
turns can come up to town on the Lord's day, and he 
himself every other Sunday; that he should have one- 
third of the island for his own use, one-tenth for his 
gunner, and the remainder for the garrison; that he 
should send a boat to, and examine, every ship that ap- 
proached the town; that he could cut wood from any of 
the islands not disposed of; and that all trading vessels 
should have leave to come and depart unmolested. 


The repairing of the Castle seems to have been at- 
tended with great difficulty. The towns neighboring to 
Boston, notwithstanding their great desire that the for- 
tifications should be rebuilt, were very remiss in ftirnish- 
ing their part of the labor and supplies, and were fre- 
quently compelled to do their duty by the constables on 
orders of the General Court. Boston was not quite so 
remiss as the other towns, as on the tenth of January, 
1643-4, it agreed to provide all the timber and lay it in 
its form for the work on the top of the hill, in case the 
other towns would go on with their shares of the work; 
and at the same time, it offered inducements for ten fam- 
iUes to reside upon Castle Island. But notwithstanding 
all this, Boston was almost as negligent in its duties 
towards the Castle as were the other towns, and fines 
were exacted and impressments continually made for the 
furtherance of the work. On the twenty-seventh of 
October, 1648, Lovell's Island was granted in perpetuity 
to the town of Charlestown, reserving a privilege for 
the garrison of the Castle to cut off one-half of the 
wood as should be needed for fuel and other economical 
purposes upon the Island. 

Things seem, after this, to have gone on at the Cas- 
tle after a fashion, for the General Court passed the 
following order on the seventh of May, 1651: "For- 
asmuch as this Courte conceives the old English colours 
now vsed by the Parliament of England to be a neces- 
sary badge of distinction betwext the English & other 
nations in all places of the world, till the State of Eng- 
land shall alter the same, which we much desire, we 
being of the same nation, hath therefore ordered, that 
the Capt. of the Castle shall psently advance the af- 
foresaid colours of England vppon the Castle vppou all 


necessary occasions." Even in this order the old 
eiunity to the red cross shows itself, and a wish is ex- 
pressed that the symbol may be changed; and probably 
it was hoped that the new state of things, which had 
arisen on the murder of King Charles, would bring it 
about. Undoubtedly Captain Davenport had great re- 
luctance in seeing the cross in the old standard waving 
over his fort; for he, it will be remembered, was Endi- 
cott's tool in cutting the cross out of the colors, while 
he was an ensign at Salem, in 1634. Davenport perpet- 
uated the remembrance of this affair in his family, by 
naming a daughter, born shortly after, Truecross Da- 
venport. About this time the armament and military 
property of the fort consisted of six murtherers, two 
boats and a drum, and two muskets and a suitable num- 
ber of pikes for each soldier. Occasionally committees 
were appointed to visit the Castle and make repairs; and 
on the thirtieth of August, 1653, the General Court, 
thinking it necessary that something must be done 
towards repairing the fortifications, passed an order 
that a small fort should be erected there, at a cost not 
exceeding three hundred pounds. In October, 1654, a 
committee reported that one of the boats had been lost 
and the drum spoiled, but not owing to the neglect of 
the captain. On the twenty-eighth of January, 1655-6, 
the town of Boston lent the captain of the Castle a 
great bell, probably the mate to the one lent to the un- 
dertakers of the conduit in Union street, the same hav- 
ing been given to the town by Captain Cromwell This 
looks a little as though things were improving at the 
Castle; and the idea is confirmed by the record that 
another attempt to finish and equip the Castle was made 
the next May. 



In November, 1659, an order was passed by the 
General Court to pay Captain Davenport £40 8s. 8d., a 
bill of charge for repairing the new Castle. This may 
have had reference to the small fort erected under the 
order passed in August, 1653. Things went along at 
the Castle pretty much in this manner until the fifteenth 
of July, 1665, when Captain Davenport was killed by 
lightning, he at the time lying upon his bed in a room 
next to that which contained the powder. It appears 
he had become fatigued with labor, and had lain down 
to rest. Three or more people were injured at the time. 
The command of the Castle was given by the General 
Court to Captain Koger Clap on the tenth of August, 
1665, who felt a great interest in it, and who strove by 
every effort in his power to have it put in good order. 
The Court provided for a constant garrison, which con- 
sisted of a captain, lieutenant, and other officers, with 
sixty-four able men completely armed, of which Boston 
was to furnish thirty, Charlestown twelve, Dorchester 
twelve, and Eoxbury ten. 

On the twenty-first of March, 1672-3, the Castle, 
being built chiefly of timber, took fire and was burnt; 
the powder, and a portion of the officers' and soldiers' 
property, alone were saved. The next day the magis- 
trates of Boston and the neighboring towns issued 
orders for a contribution of fifteen hundred pounds to 
repair it as speedily as possible; and, on the seventh of 
May following, the General Court " hauing considered 
the awfnl hand of God. in the destruction of the Castle 
by :Qer, doe order and appoint, 1st. That there be a 
small regular peece erected where the old Castle stood 
(not exceeding sixty fibote square within, or proportion- 
able), for the defence of the battery & entertainment of 


such garrison as may be meet. 21y. That the charge 
hereof be defrayed by the late subscriptions & contribu- 
tions to that end, & what shalbe wanting to their works 
be levyed by a pubhcke rate, wherein those who haue 
already contributed shall be considered according to 
what is already declared. And for the management of 
this aflfajre, and to conclude the matter & forme of the 
sajd Castle, and bring the same to a compleat end as 
speedily as may be, the honoured Governor John Leue- 
ret, Esq., Captain W" Dauis, Cap* Roger Clap, 
Cap* Thomas Savage, & M' John Richards are ap- 
pointed & impowred as a committee; and what shallbe 
concluded, from tjme to tjme, by any three of this com- 
mittee the honoured Goiinor being one, it shallbe ac- 
counted a valid act to the ends aforesaid." So attentive 
were the committee, and so active and energetic were 
the workmen, that on the seventh of October, 1674, an 
opportunity occurred for the passage of the following 
order by the General Court: "Itt is ordered, that the 
whole Court on the morrow morning goe to the Castle 
to vejw it, as it is now finisht, & see how the countrys 
money is layd out therevpon, & that on the countrys 
charge : which was donn." Here we begin to notice an 
unmistakable approach to the modern way of doing 
things. In May, 1678, an appropriation of £200 was 
made towards repairs to the Castle. In May, 1679, an 
inquiry having been made, it was reported that there 
were twenty-three mounted guns above on the Castle 
and seven below in the battery, and that there were want- 
ing five small guns to cleare the curtains above. At 
that time the whole garrison consisted of the captain 
and gunner and four men, which, it would seem, was 
rather a scanty number to manage the guns. 


In this condition the Castle remained until Captain 
Clap gave up the charge of it, in 1686, being unwilling 
to hold command under the usurper, Andros; and he 
was succeeded by Captain John Pipon, who in his turn 
was succeeded by Captain John Fairweather, on the 
nineteenth of April, 1689. After the second charter, 
known as the Province Charter, passed the seals in 
1691, the Lieutenant-Governor (or Deputy-Governor, 
as he was sometimes called) had the command of the 
Castle. During Lieutenant-Governor Dummer's time 
of service he claimed three servants, which during most 
of the time he employed upon his farm at IsTewbury, 
and claimed pay for them as soldiers, and required also 
pay for their subsistence. This caused many disputes 
with the colonial legislature, in which he got the worst, 
as they were very sure to disallow all such charges 
made by him. Once a year the Court usually passed an 
appropriation for the pay of the Lieutenant-Governor, 
" in consideration of his readiness at all times to serve 
the Province." Probably the fortifications on Castle 
Island remained without much of any change until the 
year 1701, when the old works were demolished, and 
new ones erected ia their place. 

The new fort, constructed chiefly of brick, was built 
in a very substantial manner by Colonel "WUliam Wolf- 
gang Eomer, an engineer of much ability. He placed 
over its entrance a white slab twenty-five inches square, 
which bore the following inscription: — 

Akno Decimo teetio Kegni WILHELMI 
TEETH Mag : Beit : Fe : & Hib : Kegis 
Invictissimi hoc MUNIMENTUM 
(:ex ejus Komine Wilhelmi Castellum 



Anno Secundo Eegni ANT^M 

Mag : Bbit : Te : & Hib : Kegin^ 

Seeenissim^ peefectum Annoq; 
Domini M DCC III. 

o Trihuno Wolfgango Wilhelmo 
liomero Begiarum Majestatum 
in Septentrionali America Architec- 
to Militari primario constructum. 

This maybe translated thus: "In the thirteenth year 
of the reign of William the Third, most inyincible King 
of Great Britain, France and Ireland, this fortification 
(called Castle William, from his name) was under- 
taken; and was finished in the second year of the reign 
of the most serene Ann, Queen of Great Britain, France 
and Ireland, and in the year of our Lord 1703. 

"Built by Colonel William Wolfgang Komer, chief 
military engineer to their royal majesties in North 

A portion of this instructive stone is now in a good 
state of preservation (the right hand portion having 
many years ago disappeared). The words Invictis- 
simi, Wilhelmi Castellum, Serenisimce, MDCCIII, 
were gilded, and the others were painted white. As 
the thirteenth year of Eang William HI. occupied a 
large portion of the year 1701, the rebuilding of the 
Castle must have been commenced during that year. It 
was constructed chiefiy of bricks, cemented together 
with mortar made with lime obtained from burnt oyster 
shells. A small part of the old wall has been retained 
in constructing the rear portion of the present fortifica- 
tion. Fort Independence; but as it has been covered 
with large granite ashlers, the ancient relic is entirely 
hidden from sight. 


The old Castle of 1701 was very much injured by 
the British troops, at the time they evacuated Boston, 
on the seventeenth of March, 1776. A very good 
drawing of it was made in 1757, by Governor Thomas 
Pownal; and it is quite probable that, during the sev- 
enty-five years of its standing under the British flag, it 
experienced no material change. During its provincial 
days, its history was merely a matter of detail, commit- 
tees of the General Court being occasionally appointed 
to visit it, and to make repairs. On one occasion (ia 
1720) it was found necessary to do something for the 
security of the east and west heads of the island, and 
therefore a committee was appointed to visit the place, 
and they reported on the fifteenth of l^ovember of that 
year as follows: "We have reviewed the works and find 
them well finished, and find it absolutely necessary that 
the east and west heads be well secured by good sub- 
stantial wharfis, and that there be new coverings for the 
guns at the lower battery to be ready for service." The 
report was accepted, and provision made to secure 
the heads in the best and most effective manner, either 
by wharves, or by drivbig in of spiles, to be filled up 
with stones or otherwise, and strong white oak carriages 
were ordered to be made for the guns. Early in the 
year 1735 there was a proposition to build a new battery 
at Castle William; and a committee appointed to visit 
the island reported on the thirtieth of June, 1736, that 
they found the works, as platforms, carriages, copings, 
and all the wood-work, well done, but the brick-work 
was not in good condition, as the mortar was soft, and, 
not sticking to the brick or stone, much of it came out. 
The new battery, then building, was one hundred and 
fifty feet distant from the old work, at the end of the 


island, and was to be joined to the main fort by a plat- 
form and palisades. The Province Records abound in 
orders for the appointment of committees to visit the 
Castle; and on one occasion (in 1732) the governor, 
Jonathan Belcher, took several sachems of the Cagna- 
waga Indians and a number of gentlemen to see the 
Castle; and when the Lieutenant-Governor, Spencer 
Phipps, sent his bUl for the entertainment provided for 
the company, and for several other committees, the 
Court refused payment of it, "for that it was not 
lodged within the time prescribed by law." 

If Governor PownaFs picture of the Castle is cor- 
rect, that which stood during the provincial years must 
have been quadrangular in form, although some old 
charts exhibit a pentagonal plan. The buildings had 
the appearance of having been two stories in height, 
with large windows. In connection with these was a 
large chimney, which was blown down on the twenty- 
third of October, 1761. A later view, which exhibits 
the star-spangled banner floating from the buUding, has 
a beacon-pole standing on the easterly part of the hUl. 

It has been mentioned that the British left the town 
on the seventeenth of March, 1776, and commenced 
their devastations upon the Castle at that time; but it 
does not appear that they accomplished their work and 
left the harbor for several days, as a diarist states that 
on the twenty-second of March, five days later, Castle 
William was burnt to ashes and destroyed. After this 
the provincial forces took possession of the fort, and re- 
paired it as well as could be then done. Its name was 
changed to Fort Independence on the seventh of De- 
cember, 1797, President John Adams being present on 
the occasion. By an act of the General Court of the 


Commonwealth, passed on the fourteenth of March, 
1785, the Castle was appointed a place of confinement 
for thieves and other convicts to hard lahor, an act 
which became inoperative on the twenty-fifth of June, 
1798, when the State ceded the jurisdiction of the island 
to the United States. By an act passed the first of Ifo- 
vember, 1785, aU persons under sentence to hard labor 
were ordered to be removed there, and a provision was 
made in the act ceding the island to the United States, 
that this class of prisoners should be allowed to be kept 
there with a sufficient guard; and this condition of 
things remained until the State Prison in Charlestown 
was built, in 1805. "Within a few years a very conven- 
ient and substantial stone fort has been erected on the 
site of old Castle William, which, with the aid of 
Fort "Winthrop, is supposed to completely command the 
approach of the inner harbor by means of the main ship 

Previous to the war of the Revolution, there stood 
at the northwesterly part of Castle Island, near what 
was called the "West Head, a block house, which was 
used by the officers of the garrison; and just south of 
it, at the extreme westerly part of the island, was the 
wharf, which was approached from Dorchester Point by 
small vessels. The Old Block House (so called to dis- 
tinguish it from the one of more modem date), which 
had been the residence of former officers, and which in 
later times, on a peace establishment, had been used by 
the soldiers of the garrison, was situated on a point at 
the southern extremity. A battery of some consider- 
able force, called Shirley's Battery, was located on the 
northeastern side, directly above East Head and its two 
small wharves, and fronted Point Shirley, commanding 


Pulling Point Gut. The Castle, built between the years 
1701 and 1703, called Castle "William, stood on the top- 
of the hill between East and "West Heads, the site of the 
former fort, which had been called at the commencement 
of the provincial government. Fort William and Mary, 
in honor of the Prince of Orange and his royal spouse, 
and as nearly as possible where the present Fort Inde- 
pendence now stands good sentinel. The whole island 
may well be said to be situated on Dorchester or South 
Boston Flats, as at low tide the water is very shoal on 
all its sides except where it touches the main ship chan- 
nel on the northeasterly side. 

Castle Island has its reminiscences, some of which 
are not of a very pleasant character j for in its day it 
has been the Bladensburg of Boston, duels having been 
fought there. A memorial of one of these unfortunate 
occasions can now be seen standing on the glacis of the 
fort, a short distance north of the West Battery. A small 
monument of white marble bears inscriptions which tell 
their own story. The following is on the south panel: 

Near this spot 
on the 25th, Deer, 1817, 


Lieut. Robert P. Massie, 

Aged 21 years. 

On the west are the following lines : — 

Here honour comes, a Pilgrim gray. 
To' deck the turf, that wraps his clay. 

On the north panel : — 

Beneath this stone 

are deposited 

the remains of 

Lieut. Egbert Y. Massie, 

of the 

TJ. S. Regt. of Light Artillery. 



On the west: — 

The officers of the TJ. S. 

Eegiment of Lt. Art'y 

erected this monument '- . 

as a testimony of their respect 

& friendship for an 

amiable man 


Gallant Officer. 

A memorial of older date, the most ancient now to 
be found upon the island, may be seen on the green, a 
short distance west of the west face of the fort. It is a 
slate headstone, and bears these words : 

Here lyes the Body of 
Mr Edward Pursley. 
He departed this life 
Aug. 31st 1767 
Aged 60 years 
and 4 mouths. 

It is much to be regretted that no memorials can be 
found of the old commanders of the fort. Roger Clap, 
it is well known, was buried in the Chapel Burjdng 
Ground, but the last resting-places of the others are not 
known. One noted provincial captain, Lieutenant-Cap- 
tain John Larrabe, of famous memory, died on the elev- 
enth of February, 1762, aged seventy-six years. 

Just west of the gravestone of Edward Pursley is a 
modern graveyard, quite small. This contains no in- 
scription bearing date previous to the year 1850. 



Upper Middle Shoal • • • Main Ship Channel • • • Seven Feet Channel • • • PresI-^ 
dent's Boads • • • Lower Middle •'• • Thompson's Island • • • Buoys • ■ ■ Glades 
Channel • • • Dimensions and Position of Thompson's Island • • • Muscle Bank 
• • • Lyman's Grove • ■ • Fantastic Form of Thompson's Island • ■ ■ History of 
the Island • • • Appropriated for School Purposes . . • Claim of John Thomp- 
son, in 1648 • • • Standish's Visit in 1621 • • • Indian Claim, 1654 • • • Island set- 
tled by David Thompson in 1626 • • -Squantum ■ • • Boston Asylum and Farm 
School • • • Island annexed to Boston in 1834 • • • Moon Island • • • Mennens 
Moone ... . Form of -Moon Island . • • Half-Moon Island. 

Taktistg departure from Fort Independence, and pro- 
ceeding in an easterly direction, leaving behind the Up- 
per Middle Shoal, with the Main Ship Channel on its 
north side, and on its south what used to be a channel 
bearing the name of Seven Feet Channel, — for the tide 
that left the Upper Middle only three feet below the 
surface of the water also left this old channel seven 
feet deep, — the reader will come into President's Road 
(or Roads), which in the olden time was called the 
King's Road, exactly north of which is the Lower 
Middle, a gravelly, rocky shoal, which is sometimes ex- 
posed to view. Having advanced about three-quarters 
of a mile, and then turning to the southwest and pursu- 
ing a course for about a mile and a half, he will arrive 
at the wharf situated on the northwest part of Thomp- 
son's Island. 

On coming down the harbor thus far, several buoys 
have been noticed floating in the stream. It will be 


well to remember, that of these, the Eed Buoy No. 6, 
and the beacon just north of it, are near the most shoal 
part of the remnants of the ancient Bird Island, between 
which and the Black Buoy ^o. 1 (at the northerly 
point of the flats of Governor's Island) lies Glades 
Channel; Black Buoy IS'o. 9, which is passed at the 
right, bounds the Upper Middle; while the Red Buoy 
]^o. 12, at the left, warns from the flats of Governor's 
Island, as do !N"os. 10 and 8 (both red) , also on the left, 
from the Lower Middle; and Black Buoy l^o. 7 is the 
turning point for Thompson's Island wharf. 

Thompson's Island is about one mile in length from 
northeast to southwest, and about one-third of a mile in 
width, and contains about one hundred and forty acres 
of land, suitable for agricultural purposes. It is not far 
from half a mile north of Squantum, a well-known 
promontory of Iforth Quincy, which is about seven 
miles from Boston by the usually travelled road; but by 
water it is about three mUes from Long wharf. North- 
west of the island is a large shoal, called Muscle Bank, 
which separates it from South Boston Point, and also 
from Castle Island, a little over a mUe at its north; 
Spectacle Island hes northeast. Long Island east. Moon 
Island southeast, Squantum south, and Savin Hill, in 
Dorchester, a mile and a half due west of it. The sur- 
face is gently rising, forming two eminences, which, in 
reference to their position, are called East and "West 
Heads; and between these, on the southeasterly side, is 
a cove, and on the southwesterly a salt-water pond of 
several acres, into and from which once flowed a creek, 
that in ancient times was dignified by the name of river. 
Thompson's Island Bar, which projects at the southern 
extreme of the island about a quarter of a mile towards 


Squantum, has been long a noted locality, furnishing 
delicious clams, which our fathers used to cook beneath 
an old sycamore tree, which has shared the fate of its 
kindred. Not far from this bar, and upon the West 
Head, is a grove of trees, planted about thirty years ago 
by the late Hon. Theodore Lyman, and upon this island 
are many flourishing fruit trees, which bear an abun- 
dance of choice pears and other fruit. 

The form of this island, as shown on the charts of 
the harbor, is very much like that of a young unfledged 
chicken looMng towards the east, the northeasterly part 
(or East Head) representing the head and bill of the 
bird, and the bar, which extends from the southerly part 
towards Squantum, the legs and feet. The portion of 
the island where the wharf is situated forms the back. 
By keeping this fanciful form in mind, the figure of the 
island will be remembered. It should not be forgotten 
by those who visit this pleasant spot, that the deep wa- 
ter is on its north and westerly sides, while very shoal 
flats lie to its east and south. 

The first mention of this island is found in the Co- 
lonial Records of Massachusetts, under date of the 
fourth of March, 1634-5, in the following words: 
" Tompson's Iland is graunted to the inhabitants of 
Dorchest" to enioy to them, their heires & successors, 
w"'* shall inhabite there, foreuer, payeing the yearely 
rent of xijtZ to the tresurer for the time being." In con- 
sequence of this grant by the General Court of the col- 
ony, the town of Dorchester voted, on the twentieth of 
May, 1639, that a rent of twenty pounds a year should 
be charged for the island, to be paid by the tenants 
toward the maintenance of a school in Dorchester; this 
rent of twenty pounds " to bee pajd to such a schoole- 


master as shall vndertake to teach English, Latine, and 
other tongues, and also writing." The schoolmaster 
was to be chosen from time to time by the freemen, but - 
it was left to the discretion of the Elders and the Seven- 
men for the time being to decide " whether maydes 
shalbe taught w**" the boyes or not." So it seems that 
the good people of Dorchester early provided for 
schools where the really solid branches should be 
taught, and also had an eye to the propriety of " mixed 
schools," as they are termed nowadays. It appears 
that Eev. Mr. Thomas Waterhouse had the honor of 
being the first person to enjoy this bountiful provision 
of the town, and even he had liberty to teach the 
writing as he could conveniently. The difficulty of col- 
lecting rent, however, induced the town, on the seventh 
of February, 1641-2, to provide that there should be 
but ten tenants upon the island at any one time. These 
halcyon days, however, did not last forever, for a Mr. 
John Thomson, son and heir of the David Thomson 
from whom the island derived its name, made claim to it 
in 1648, and the town lost it, as will be seen from the fol- 
lowing extract from the Colony Records, under date of 
the tenth of May, 1648 : " Forasmuch as it appeares to 
this Corte, upon the petition of M"' John Thomson, sonn 
& heire of David Thomson, deceased, that the said David, 
in or about the yeare 1626, did take actuall possession 
of an iland in the Massachusetts Bay, called Thomson's 
Hand, & then being vacuum domicilium, & before the 
patent granted to us of the Massachusets Bay, & did 
erect there the forme of an habitation, & dying soone 
after, leaving the petioS an infant, who so soone as he 
came to age, did make his claim e formerly, & now 
againe, by his said petition, this Corte, consid^ng the 


pi'eraises, & not willing to deprive any of their lawfull 
right & possession, or to prmit any piudice to come to 
the petitiofl in the time of his non age, do hereby 
graunt the said iland, called Thomson's Hand, to the 
said John Thomson & his heires forever, to- belong to 
this jurisdiction, & to be und"" the gov'nment & lawes 
thereof." The General Court, however, did not take this 
island from the jurisdiction of Dorchester, but allowed 
it to remain under it, where it had been since 1634, to- 
gether with the neighboring island called Moon Island. 
The Dorchester people bore the loss of their island with 
Christian fortitude, and in October, 1648, petitioned for 
another island instead of it; whereupon the Court ex- 
pressed a T^illingness to answer their petition "when 
the towne psents that w** is fit to be given." The 
town, not satisfied with the result of the petition, tried 
again to get the island restored by law, but failed in the 

When Mr. John Thomson made his defence against 
the renewed claim of Dorchester to the island, in 1650, 
he brought in evidence certain affidavits of William Tre- 
vore, William Blaxton, Miles Standish, and the Saga- 
more of Agawam, all eminent persons in their way. 
These documents, copies of which are preserved, make it 
appear that early after the settlement of Plymouth, 
Captain Standish and others, among whom was William 
Trevore, a sailor, who came over in the May Flower, in 
1620, visited Boston harbor in September, 1621, and at 
that time Trevore took possession of the island, under 
the name of Island of Trevor, for Mr. David Thomson, 
.then of London; that Mr. Thomson obtained a grant 
of the land by patent before the arrival of the Massa- 
chusetts Company; that Mr. Blaxton, who is well 


known as the reputed first European resident upon the 
pemnsular part of Boston, knew Mr. David Thomson 
personally, and was acquainted with the location of the 
island and its usej that it had what was called a harbor, 
and that hogs were pastured upon it; that there was at 
the time of the visit no evidence that Indians had ever 
dwelt upon it or cultivated its soil ; and that it had 
never been claimed by any Indian except by an old Dor- 
chester Indian about the year 1648. The river is also 
alluded to by the Sagamore. Either the Sagamore was 
very uncertain, or his memory treacherous, or else he 
deposed to what he had not read; for certainly his testi- 
mony is in some respects very far from the trath. But 
he gives the reason why Mr. Thomson liked the island, 
— because of the small river; and it may be inferred 
that the true reason is given by Trevore and the Indian 
why Mr. Thomson so early left Piscataqua and stopped a 
while upon this island in the harbor, — because he liked 
it, and had a grant of it. On the eighteenth of Oc- 
tober, 1659, the inhabitants petitioned for a grant of a 
thousand acres in lieu of the island; and on the twelfth 
of [N^ovember following, the Court grants their request, 
the said land to be laid out where they can find it, they 
improving it for the benefit of their free school. The 
land finally obtained by Dorchester was part of the 
present township of Lunenburg. 

Although Mr. John Thomson got possession of his 
island from the Dorchester people, another claimant, in 
the shape of an Indian, named Winnuequassam, laid 
claim to it in November, 1654, and had liberty of trial 
granted him; but he failed in proving his right, and the 
estate in the island remained to Mr. Thomson and his 


Mr. Thomson probably settled upon the island dur- 
ing the year 1626, for Gov. Bradford, in his history of 
Plymouth Plantation, under date of 1626, speaks of 
" Mr. David Thomson who lived at Piscataqua," and the 
Colonial Records of Massachusetts mention him as a 
resident of the island the same year. He had been sent 
out by Sir Fernando Gorges iu 1623, and first set down 
at Piscataqua; but being discontented, it is presumed 
that he removed to Boston harbor about the time above 
alluded to. He is supposed to have died on this island 
some time during the year 1628, leaving. an only son 
John, an infant, who inherited his estate, which also 
included the neck of land pertaining to Quiney, now 
called Squantum, — perhaps from Squanto (or Tisquan- 
tum), who was one of the party with Captain Standish 
who visited the island in September, 1621, — a place 
much noted during the early part of the present century 
for the Squantum Feasts held there, not only by the fast 
young men of the time, but also by the staid and re- 
spectable old gentlemen of Boston and the neighboring 
towns. Until the second of May, 1855, Squantum, 
though south of the !N'eponset River, was part of the 
town of Dorchester; but, at the above-mentioned date, 
it was set ofi" from Dorchester, and annexed to Quiney. 
At extreme low tides, the water is so shallow between 
Squantum and Thompson's Island Bar that a person 
may cross from the main land at the Squaw Rock (for- 
merly called Chapel Rock) to the island. 

This island has always been private property since 
the time of the Thomsons, and used for purposes con- 
nected with agriculture. In 1834, it was purchased for 
$6,000, by the proprietors of the Boston Farm School, 
an institution incorporated on the nineteenth of !N'ovem- 



ber, 1833. This society immediately erected a substan- 
tial building, 105 by 36 feet, with a central front projec- 
tion of 39 by 25 feet, under the immediate supervision 
of the late John D. "Williams, Esq., of this city, who felt 
a great interest in the charitable undertaking. On the 
fifth of March, 1835, this institution was united with the 
Boston Asylum for Indigent Boys, which had been in- 
corporated on the twenty-fourth of February, 1814, the 
united institutions taking the name of the Boston Asy- 
lum and Farm School for Indigent Boys. The island 
having become appropriated for uses connected with the 
city of Boston, an act of the legislature was passed on 
the twenty-fifth of March, 1834, setting it off from Dor- 
chester, with which it had been connected two hundred 
years, and annexing it to Boston so long as it should be 
used for the purposes of a farm school or other charita- 
ble purposes J and a provision was made in the same act 
that nothing in it should destroy or affect any lawful 
right that the inhabitants of Dorchester might have of 
digging and taking clams on the banks of said island, 
evidently showing that its flats had not lost their value 
in respect to the famous Hfew England shell-fish. 

Moon Island, or Mennen's Moon, as it was called in 
ancient times, together with Squantum, was placed 
under the jurisdiction of Dorchester by the expressive 
order passed at the General Court of Elections held the 
second of June, 1641: "Squantum's ]S"eck & Mennens 
Moone are layd to Dorchester." The Moon Island, or 
Moon Head, as it is sometimes designated, contains 
about twenty acres of land, and has been used from time 
immemorial for pasturage; it is connected at very low 
water with Squantum by two bars. The associations 
connected with this island are such as have been men- 


tioned when speaking of some of the other islands, 
namely, as furnishing to excursion and pleasure parties 
comfortable places for cooking. 

Moon Island is one of the most marked objects in 
the southerly part of the harbor, on account of the high 
bluff which it presents on its northerly side. In form 
on the charts, it looks very much like a leg of venison 
with its shank pointing westerly as a bar towards 
Squantum. Its proper approach is on its southerly 

About two miles south of Moon Island is Half-Moon 
Island, lying in the flats a short distance from the north- 
erly shore of Quincy. It resembles in form half of a 
ring, the convex part north; hence the derivation of its 
name from the moon, as presented to view in its first 
or last quarter. 



Form and Position of Spectacle Island • • • Sculpin Ledge • • • The Back Way, 
or Western Passage • • • Size of the Island • • ■ First mentioned in 1635 • • • 
Granted to Boston for the Benefit of the Free School • • • Formerly covered 
■with Wood • • • Laid out for the Planters in 1649 ■ • • Relinquished to the Plant- 
ers in 1667 . . . Purchased by Thomas Bill ■ • ■ Sold to Samuel Bill in 1681 • • • 
Indian Claim and Release in 1684 • • ■ In Possession of Samuel Bill, Jr. • ■ • 
Sold to Richard Bill in 1730 ••• First Quarantine Establishment in Boston 
Harbor • • • First Attempt at Squantum Neck • • • Deer Island offered by the 
Town ■ ■ ■ Part of Spectacle Island purchased, 1717 • • • Quarantine Act in 
1710 •• • Rainsford Island purchased by the Province in 1736, and Quarantine 
on Spectacle Island given up in 1739- ■ • Island sold to Edward Bromfleld in 
1742 • • ■ Condition of the Island in 1742 • • • Use of the Island in late Years. 

EETUENEsra from Thompson's Island about a mile in a 
northeasterly direction towards President Koads, and 
passing one half a mile in an easterly course, the reader 
will come to a peculiarly shaped island, called Spectacle 
Island, from its remarkable resemblance to a pair of 
spectacles, it being formed of two peninsular portions 
connected together by a short bar, which is covered with 
water at high tides. It lies between Thompson's Island 
west, and Long Island east, being distant about three- 
quarters of a mile from the former, and about one imle 
from the latter. Between it and the southeasterly point 
of Long Island lies Sculpin Ledge, the easterly part of 
which has a Red Buoy, l^o. 2, to warn the boatman 
of its dangerous hidden rocks. Between this island 
and' ledge on the northeast, and Thompson's and Moon 


Islands on the southwest, is the Back "Way, or "Western 
Passage, throvTgh which the course from Boston is south- 
southeast. The bluff on the northerly part of Spectacle 
Island, and the high land upon its southerly portion, are 
designated generally as its N'orth and Sovith Heads. 
Each of these parts can be approached on their west- 
erly side, where small wharves have been built by the 
owners of the island for their own use, and for the ac- 
commodation of the numerous visitors to its hospitable 
shores. By the old deeds of conveyance and by estima- 
tion, it is supposed to contain about sixty acres of land, 
equally divided into two parts for the two peninsulas. 

The first mention of this noted location in the rec- 
ords is on the fourth of March, 1634-5, when, together 
with Deer Island, Hog Island, and Long Island, it was 
granted to the town of Boston, for the yearly rent of 
four shillings for the four islands, which may be called 
one shilling a piece for each of them. Very soon after 
it came into the possession of the town, it was allotted 
to the different inhabitants, who paid a small annual 
rent, to inure to the benefit of the free school. At this 
time the island was well covered with wood; for Gov- 
ernor "Winthrop relates, that on the thirteenth of Jan- 
uary, 1637-8, about thirty persons of Boston went out 
on a fair day to Spectacle Islaiid to cut wood, the town 
being in great want thereof. The next night the wind 
rose very high at the northeast, with snow, and after- 
wards at the northwest for two days, and it was so cold 
that the harbor was frozen over, except a small channel. 
These thirty adventurers met with hard luck, for of their 
number, twelve could get no farther home than the Gov- 
ernor's Island, seven were carried in the ice in a small 
skiff, through Broad Sound to the Brewsters, where 


they had to stay two days without food and fire, and 
g-et home by the way of Pulling Point, and many of the 
others, after detention, had their limbs frozen, and one 
of them died. 

In 1649, the town began to take measures for grant- 
ing the land at the island to planters for perpetuity, 
reserving the exaction of a small annual rent of about 
sixpence an acre for the benefit of the free school; and 
on the nineteenth of April of that year, ten persons 
" bind themselves and their successors to pay sixpence 
an acre p yeare for their land at Spectacle Hand, for- 
euer to y® use of the schole, y* soe it maye be proprietye 
to them for euer, and they are to bring in their pay to 
the townes treasurer the first day of February for eft 
or else there land is forfeit into the townes dispossing." 
These persons did not pay their rent as promptly as they 
should, and some of them conveyed their rights to others, 
insomuch that there were large arrearages due; there- 
fore an order was passed in town meeting, in 1655, of a 
compulsory character, and the treasurer was authorized 
to levy and collect by help of the constable. It was not, 
however, until the eleventh of March, 1666-7, that the 
town relinquished all its right in the island to the plant- 
ers. This it did at that time, and made void the agree- 
ment about the annual rent of sixpence an acre for the 
benefit of the school, on condition that the back rent 
should be paid up in full to that date. This was un- 
doubtedly done; for just previous to this last date, Mr. 
Thomas Bill, a lighterman, began to purchase up the 
rights of the several owners ; and when he had nearly 
acquired the whole island he sold his thirty-five acres of 
it, on the twenty-fifth of January, 1680-1, to his son 
Samuel Bill, a butcher, who had previously purchased 


five acres of Mr. John Salter (part of his inheritance 
from his father William, a mariner), and also other parts 
of several persons. Thus Mr. Samuel Bill became, as 
he thought, owner of the whole island. But here, as in 
other like cases, a pretended prior Indian claim turned 
up, and had to be quieted. It appears that the new 
claimant was Josiah, the son and heir of Josiah, other- 
wise called Wampatuck, late sachem of the Massachu- 
setts country. This distinguished individual says, in 
the language of the deed of release, where he uses the 
first person I, "for divers good causes and considera- 
tions me thereunto moving, & in particular for and in 
consideration of money to me in hand paid, before the 
ensealing of this deed, by Samuel Bill, of Boston, 
butcher, have with y* knowledge and consent of my 
wise men and councillors, "William Ahaton, Sen' "Wil- 
liam Ahaton, Jun"^ & Robert Momentaug, given, 
granted, sold, enfeoffed and confirmed, and by these 
presents do fully, freely and absolutely give, grant, sell, 
enfeoffe, convey and confirme unto the s^ Samuel Bill 
his heires & assignes for ever one certain Island scituate 
in the Massachusetts Bay, commonly known and called 
by the name of Spectacle Island, in the present posses- 
sion of the same Bill, with all rights, privileges and 
appurtenances thereunto in any wise appertaining &; 
belonging." The Indian covenants, in the deed, " that 
(according to Indian right & title) he is the sole 
owner and proprietor of the s* island," and therefore, 
with his three councillors, executes the same on the 
thirtieth of April, 1684. What the valuable considera- 
tion consisted of does not appear j but it is known that, 
after the purchase of other claims by Mr. Bill, he re- 
mained in full possession of it until his decease, on the 


eighteenth of August, 1705, when it fell to his widow 
Elizabeth, by a provision of his wUl, which provided 
that she should enjoy its benefits during her widowhood, 
and at her decease it should go to his son Samuel. 
Mr. BUI also provided that, in case of the marriage 
of his widow, she should retain only her thirds in the 
real estate left by him. Mrs. Bill chose the latter alter- 
native, and on the twenty-second of March, 1705-6, 
married Mr. Eleazer Phillips of Charlestown. In con- 
sequence of this marriage, the estate of Mr. BiU was 
amicably divided, and two-thirds 'of Spectacle Island, as 
well as two-thirds of the eeventy-six sheep and two 
cows, and the whole of two negro men, a boat, one old 
mare, and the family hog, together with sundry tools, 
were apportioned to Mr. Samuel BiU, the heir apparent, 
the whole value of his portion amounting to £444 18s. 
8d. In the course of events, Mr. Phillips and his wife 
died, and the title became vested in Mr. Samuel Bill, in 
accordance with the will of his father. This Mr. Bill 
was denominated, in the old records, a victuaUer, and 
resident of the town of Boston, as his father and grand- 
father were before him. From this time the island re- 
mained in the possession of Mr. Bill (with the excep- 
tion which will be mentioned hereafter) until he sold 
it, on the eighteenth of March, 1729-30, to his brother 

Early in the last century, our wise and considerate 
rulers began to think earnestly of establishing a quar- 
antine in Boston harbor; and for that purpose the Gen- 
eral Court of the province, on the eleventh of June, 
1716, appointed a committee " to investigate a suitable 
place for the erecting a hospital for infectious persons, 
with minutes for an Act for that purpose." The com- 


mittee attended to the duty assigned them, and on the 
twentieth of the ensuing November reported on the sub- 
ject, recommending, among other things, that an acre of 
land, with the necessary privileges, should be purchased 
at Squantum IS^eck. This part of the report was ac- 
cepted, and an appropriation was made of one hundred 
and fifty pounds for the object, and for the erection of 
the necessary buildings, Samuel Thaxter and "William 
Payne, Esquires, being the committee to carry the order 
into effect. But on the eleventh of April, 1717, one 
hundred and five inhabitants of Dorchester, fearing the 
effects of having a pest-house so near them, remonstra- 
ted against the same; and another committee, with the 
same powers and instructions, and consisting of Adam 
Winthrop, William Payne, Samuel Thaxter, and Jona- 
than Dowse, Esquires, was appointed, and directed to 
use all convenient speed in selecting another place for 
the object. It was undoubtedly in consequence of this 
remonstrance, that, on the fifteenth of the following 
May, the philanthropic townsme:ii of Boston passed the 
following vote : " That the Selectmen be impowered 
to Lease out a piece of Land on Dere Island not Ex- 
ceeding one acre, for a Term not Exceeding ninety-nine 
years, to be improved for the Erecting an Hospital or 
Pest House there for the reception & entertainm' of 
sick persons coming from beyond the Sea and in order 
to prevent the spreading of Infection." It does not ap- 
pear that Deer Island was taken at that time for the 
puj'pose; but it is certain, that on the thirtieth of July 
of the same year (1717), Samuel Bill and his wife Sarah, 
for £100 in bills of credit, did convey to the treasurer 
of the province, Jeremiah Allen, Esq., a portion of laud, 
" being part of the southerly end of Spectacle Island, 



SO- called, and is bounded northerly by said Bills land, 
ten feet to the northward of the cellar wall lately built 
there, to erect a house on for the Province to entertain 
the sick, and is on the cleft or brow of the southerly 
head or highland of s* island forty-four feet wide, and 
from thence to run on a line about south-southwest 
ninety feet, where it is also forty-four feet wide, and 
thence to continue the line on the easterly side streight 
down to the sea, and from s* ninety feet on the westerly 
side to widen gradually on a streight line to the sea or 
salt water, where it is to be sixty feet wide, together 
with the liberty of landing on the southerly beach point, 
and thence to pass and repass to and' from the said 
granted land." 

The foregoing acts of the Provincial Legislature, 
Town Meeting of Boston, and Committee of the Gen- 
eral Court, were the first steps towards the establishment 
of the Boston Quarantine, which was so ably sustained 
by subsequent acts of the Greneral Court. It is true 
that in the year 1701 an act was passed requiring se- 
lectmen to provide for persons sick with infectious dis- 
eases, and also impowering justices to prevent persons 
coming on shore from any vessels visited with sickness, 
as may be seen by examining the act itself, being the 
nineteenth chapter passed in the thirteenth year of Wil- 
liam the Third, 1701. To this an addition was passed 
on the fourteenth of February, 1717-18, which was the 
act required by the committee already mentioned above, 
and which is known as the fourth chapter of the fourth 
year of George the First. After stating that a conven- 
ient house had been provided by the province on Spec- 
tacle Island for the reception of such as shall be visited 
with contagious sickness, in order to keep them from 


infecting otiiers, the act provided that the keeper of the 
Hght-house and the commanding officer of Castle "Wil- 
liam should notify all vessels coming near them, wherein 
any infectious disease is or has been, to come to anchor 
near the house, or hospital, at Spectacle Island, and that 
all infectious goods should be put into the hospital. All 
the repairs to the establishment, and whatever should 
be necessary for the accommodation of the persons de- 
tained, were to be provided for by the selectmen of Bos- 
ton, at the immediate expense of the province. Not- 
withstanding what has been expressed in the act alluded 
to, it appears that matters must have gone on slowly at 
the island, as an order was passed by the General Court 
on the tenth of December, 1720, " that the selectmen of 
the town of Boston be desired to take care for the fin- 
ishing of the Public Hospital on Spectacle Island, so as 
to make it warm and comfortable for the entertainment 
of the sick." From this time things went on well at the 
hospital; repairs, when needed, were made, and every- 
thing required for comfort was provided by the town, 
and paid for by the province. In January, 1735-6, a 
committee was appointed, and further impowered on the 
twenty-fourth of March following, for agreeing with the 
owners of any convenient place as they may think suit- 
able for removing the hospital to, in the harbor of Bos- 
ton. This committee, after being reminded of their 
duty on the twenty-fifth of November, reported on the 
second of December, 1736, that they had performed 
their duty, and recommended, "that the sum of five 
hundred and seventy pounds be granted and paid out 
of the public treasury to the Honorable John Jeffries, 
Esq., and the other selectmen of Boston, by them to be 
disposed of for the consideration purchase of a certain 


island in the harbor of Boston, called Kansford's Island, 
lying between Long Island and the main land near the 
town of Hull, to be improved as ' a Hospital for the 
Province." At the same time Mr. Treasurer Foye was 
authorized to execute and j)ass a deed of sale to Kichard 
Bill, Esq., of Boston, of all the right, title, and estate 
of the province in that part of Spectacle Island, with 
the buildings and appurtenances, where the hospital 
then was, on the receipt of the, sum of one hundred and 
thirty pounds. On the thii'teenth of December, 1737, 
the committee reported that they had built a hospital 
upon Rainsford Island; therefore, that upon Spectacle 
Island became of na use to the province, and was ac- 
cordingly sold to Kichard Bill, of Boston, and conveyed 
to him by deed dated seventeenth February, 1738-39. 

By the above mentioned conveyance, Mr. Bill came 
in full and absolute possession of the whole island, he 
having acquired the title of the remaining portion some 
time previous, as already stated, from- his brother Sam- 
uel. On the second of February, 1741-2, he sold his 
whole interest in it to Edward Bromfield, Esq., a gentle- 
man of note at that time; and since then Spectacle Isl- 
and has not been improved for public use, but, with the 
exception to be mentioned, has reverted to the ordinary 
purposes of agriculture and pasturage, and occasionally 
for the convenience and entertainment of persons on 
pleasure excursions down the harbor. 

"When Mr. Bromfield purchased the island, there was 
upon its northern portion a house and barn and other 
accommodations. The house has recently been fixed up 
after a fashion, and put to a new business, unknown, 
until quite recently, to our community. A vessel styled 
after the proprietor, the Nahum Ward, plies frequently 


between the island and one of the South Boston 
wharves, laden with a most remarkable cargo, which, 
when passed through certain processes of manufacture, 
yields a valuable return to an enterprising firm, al- 
though the island, in consequence of the manufactory, 
has ceased to be so much a place of resort as formerly. 
Although good Mr. Bromfield, when he got the island 
and assumed the mortgages upon it, may have supposed 
he bought a " dead horse," which would be of very little 
use to him, yet undoubtedly the present occupant thinks 
dead horses very valuable property, when put to legiti- 
mate uses in the way of trade. 

The next island in course is Long Island, a descrip- 
tion of which should be attempted in the next chapter; 
but, for the purpose of keeping connected the subject of 
quarantine, the writer proposes to say a few words about 
Rainsford Island, which is easily reached from Spectacle 
by moving along a short distance through the western 
way. This passage, which can only be used by large 
vessels at high tide, branches off from the Main Ship 
Channel at Castle Island wharf, and runs in a south- 
southeast direction till it passes the southerly extremity 
of Long Island; then in a direction northeast by east 
between Long and Rainsford Islands, nearly to Gallop's 
Island; then southeasterly by the southerly side of 
George's Island; and then east-northeast to Boston 
Light House, at the mouth of the harbor. 



Old Quarantine Ground at Rainsford Island • • • Wilson's, or Lark Hock • • • 
Quarantine Rocks, Sunken Ledge, and Hangman's Island • • • Form and Di- 
mensions of Rainsford Island • • ■ Its Topography • • • Early History of the 
Island ■ ■ • Formerly under the Jurisdiction of Hull • • • Owned by Edward 
Raynsford • • • Sold to the Lorings of Hull in 1692 • ■ • Quarantine in 1736 • • • 
Rainsford Island selected and purchased in 1736 •• First Hospital erected 
in 1737 ■ ■ ■ Removal of Quai-antine in 1852 • • • Gallop's Island fitted for 
Quarantine Purposes in 1866 • • • Location of Hospitals • ■ -Rainsford Island 
as a Place of Resort • • • Traditions • . • Old Bury ing-Ground • • • The State In- 
stitutions on the Island abandoned. 

Staetdstg from the northerly wharf of Spectacle Island, 
which, it wUl be remembered, projects westerly from the 
north peninsula, and pursuing for about a mile and a 
quarter a southeasterly course through the Western 
Passage, which bears various names, such as the Back 
Way and Western Channel, the reader will come to the 
southwest point of Long Island, south of which is situ- 
ated the Old Quarantine Ground, and Uttle over a mile 
distant is Rainsford Island, which has also borne the 
names of Hospital Island and Quarantiae Island. From 
this point he can proceed to Rainsford Island at any 
tide, by taking a northeasterly course through the Back 
Way between it and Long Island, and then a circuitous 
course around its northeastern head, by the way of Wil- 
. son's or the Lark Rock, until he finds its wharf on its 
southerly side. At high tide, when the large shoal is 
covered with a sufficient depth of water, the wharf can 


be reached by a shorter cut, directly from .the southwest, 
without passing between it and Long Island; but this 
way is somewhat dangerous to inexperienced persons, 
on account of the Quarantine Rocks, Sunken Ledge, and 
Hangman's Island, lying in the extensive shoals just 
south of the Old Quarantine Ground; yet this last is, 
to those acquainted with the dangers, and well skilled 
in the way of avoiding them, the favorite approach to 
the island. Still another mode of approaching the 
island is through Broad Sound Channel by a very 
roundabout way. 

Eainsford Island is about half a mile in length from 
east to west, and very narrow for its length. Its form 
is quite fantastical, and may be likened to a mink, with- 
out much stretch of the imagination, if the Point is 
taken for the head, and West Head and the numerous 
' projections on its southern side for the legs. By the 
way of the channel it is seven and a quarter miles from 
the city; but the shorter passage measures a little less, 
perhaps shortening the distance three quarters of a mile. 
In a direct line from the end of Long wharf, southeast- 
erly, it is distant five miles and three quarters, while it 
may be reached on the ice, in cold winters, from South 
Boston Point, by a walk of four miles. It is supposed, 
by estimation, to contain eleven acres of ground. Its 
!North Bluff, so called, where is situated the chief part 
of the land which in any degree is supplied with avail- 
able soil, is quite elevated, being about thirty-five feet 
above the mark of high water. At the western extrem- 
ity is a prominent point of land called Small Pox Point, 
east of which, and projecting southerly, is a bold prom- 
inence, which consists of a ledge of slate stone, and has 
from very early times been known as West Head. These 


heads are connected with a narrow strip of beach, less 
than fifty yards in length, which in former times was 
frequently overflowed at high tides, but which is now in 
a measure protected from the influence of storms and 
surges by a sea-wall, which has been erected for the 
purpose at a great expense. 

The early history of this island is not so definite as 
is desired. From what has been said in previous chap- 
ters, it is known that in the early days of the colony 
(about 1635), the General Court granted, as occasions 
demanded, the islands of Boston harbor to different 
towns, and also to individuals. Deer Island, Long Isl- 
and, Hog Island, and Spectacle Island were granted to 
Boston, IS^oddle's Island to Samuel Maverick, Govern- 
or's Island to John Winthrop, Thompson's Island to 
Dorchester by mistake, and then confirmed to David 
Thompson, the true claimant, and other islands to other 
proprietors, as will be seen hereafter. In some way Rains- 
ford Island came under the jurisdiction of the town of 
I^antasket, which, on the twenty-ninth of May, 1644, was 
named Hull, by the following order : " It is ordered, 
that IS^antascot shall be called Hull." In all probability 
the grant was included in the following court order, 
passed on the second of June, 1641: "It is further or- 
dered, that the iland called Pedocks Hand, & the other 
ilands there not otherwise disposed of, shall belong to 
IS^antaskot, to bee to the use of the inhabitants & fisher- 
men, so soone as they shall come to inhabite there." Be 
this as it may, it is certain that Elder Edward Raynsford 
was very early in the old colony days the undisputed pro- 
prietor of the island; and, for vfant of better evidence, 
it is believed that he had it of the town of Hull, and 
perhaps in accordance with the request of Mr. Owen 


Kowe, a wealthy tradesman of London, and a member 
of the Massachusetts Company, who, on the eighteenth 
of February, 1635-6, wrote to Governor Winthrop, re- 
questing that "Mr. Eansford may be accommodated 
with lands for a farme to keepe my cattele,- that so my 
stocke may be preserved." The chief use of the islands 
was for the pasturage of cattle; and, as Elder Eayns- 
ford had charge of those sent over by Mr. Kowe, it is 
not improbable that he obtained a grant of the island 
for the purpose. 

The good old Elder lived to a respectable old age, 
having acquired a competent estate, with many children 
and grandchildren to share it; and after serving his day 
and generation, as some of the old chroniclers say, he 
died on the sixteenth of August, 1680, at the age of 
seventy-one years, leaving his estate to his widow and 
children, to be improved by the widow during - her life, 
and to go to the children at her decease. ' She, good 
woman, survived her husband eight years and then 
died; for the gravestone in King's Chapel Burying- 
Ground tells us, that Mrs. Elizabeth Eaynsford died 
on the sixteenth of ISTovember, 1688, aged eighty-one 
years. At her decease the property of the Elder was 
divided, and Kainsford Island, which at his death 
was valued at only £10, was assigned, together with 
other property, to the children of Captain William 
Greenough, of Boston, a noted shipwright, whose 
second wife Elizabeth, then deceased, was daughter 
of the Elder. Although these children, I^ewman and 
Edward Greenough, were living. Captain Greenough, 
their father, on the thirteenth of January, 1691-2, 
conveyed the estate in the island to "John Loring 
and Benjamin Loring, of Hull alias ]Srantasket, yeo- 



men," for the sum of twenty-two pounds current 
money of N"ew England. The description in the 
deed styles it, " a certain island commonly called or 
knowne by the name of Raynsford's Island, s'cittuate, 
lying and being between Pettock's Island and Long Isl- 
and in the Massachusetts Bay aforesaid, consisting of 
two hills of land parted with a beach between each 
other, which beach is sometimes overflowed at high 
water, being butted and bounded southerly by Pettocks 
Island aforesaid, northerly by said Long Island, easterly 
by the town of Hull afores'd, and westerly by a neck of 
land called Mannings Moone iN'eck," together with all 
" the beach^ flBatts, stones, profits, privileges, timber 
trees, rights, comodities, heriditaments, emoluments, and 
appurtenances." Possession was given on the twenty- 
second of January of the same year. From the partic- 
ularity of the deed, it may be inferred that the slate 
stone at the West Head may have been put to some 
kind of use, as well as the timber trees and grass. From 
this time, for the space of forty-five years, the island re- 
mained in the possession of these Lorings and their 
heirs, until it was conveyed to the province, as will be 
seen hereafter. 

In the preceding chapter the incipient stages of 
the quarantine estaljlishment at Boston were briefly 
sketched. Spectacle Island affording a position for the 
commencement of the undertaking. After nearly 
twenty years' use of this locality, there was a feeling in 
the community that the right place had not been se- 
lected; Spectacle Island was too near the town, and was 
among other occupied islands ; it had no good road near 
it for the anchorage of detained vessels, and was also 
suitable for pasturage, containing as it did about sixty 


acres of good grass land. Therefore, on the twenty- 
second of January, 1735-6, a committee was appointed, 
who reported, on the second of December, 1736, as was 
before stated in the last chapter, for selling the land on 
Spectacle Island, and for purchasing Eainsford Island j 
and £570 were appropriated for the purpose. In ac- 
cordance with the directions of the General Court of 
the province, the island was purchased, and a deed was 
passed on the seventh of December following, signed by 
John Loring and wife Elizabeth, Samuel Loring and 
■wife Jane, Caleb Loring and wife Rebecca, Benjamin 
Loring and wife Elizabeth, John Loring, Jr., and wife 
Elizabeth, and David Loring and wife Hannah, all of 
Hull, conveying the same for the sum above mentioned, 
and with the same description as in the deed from 
Greenough to Lorings before given, with the following, 
"to be used and improved for a hospital for the said 

On the fourth of February, 1736-7, it was voted by 
the House of Representatives, and concurred in by the 
Council, "that Mr. Speaker and Mr. Cooke, with such as 
shall be joined by the honorable Board, be a committee 
to build a suitable and convenient House on Rainsford 
Island, lying between Long Island and the Main Land 
near the town of Hull, to be used and improved as a 
publick hospital for the reception and accomodation of 
such sick and infectious persons as shall be sent there 
by order." Governor Jonathan Belcher assented to 
the vote, and Hon. William Dudley, and Hon. Samuel 
"Welles, councillors, were joined to the committee on the 
part of the council. The committee seem to have taken 
the matter in hand at once, for we find on the thirteenth 
of December, 1737, they made a report, a minute of 


which was recorded, and an order passed in the follow- 
ing words : — 

"A Report of a Committee of this Court lately ap- 
pointed for building an Hospital on Ransford-Island, 
showing they have built an House there of four Rooms 
on a Floor, four upright Chambers and convenient Gar- 
rets, and Cellars well-finished and a Well, and suitable 
Conveniences for the Reception of the Sick, as Occasion 
may be, dated, Boston, tenth of October, 1737, and 
signed William Dudley, in the ISTame and by the order 
of the Committee, was. laid on the Table, Read and Or- 
dered, That the present Select Men of the Town of 
Boston be and hereby are fully authorized and ap- 
pointed a committee to treat with some suitable Person 
to keep .the Hospital lately built by order of this Court 
at Ransford-Island for the reception of sick and infec- 
tious Persons, and that the said Person be desired and 
impowered to take all proper Care of such Persons as 
may be sent to the said Hospital, for twelve months 
next, and that the Committee agree with the Person for 
taking care of the sick, &c., for his Time and Service 
herein for the year; and that they render an Account of 
the Issues and Profits which may arise by the Produce 
on the Island the next season, to this Court in the Fall 
Session of the next year." 

The members from the town of Boston were impow- 
ered on the nineteenth of December, 1737, to prepare a 
bill for regulating the public hospital on Rainsford 
Island, which they presented on the twenty-first of the 
same month, being an act in addition to the one passed 
in 1701. This seems to have met with some opposition, 
as it was not finally passed until the twenty-first of 
June, 1738. Since then various acts have been passed 


by the Provincial and State Legislatures on the subject 
of quarantine; so that Massachusetts may be now re- 
garded as having the best laws on the subject, as well 
as the best regulated establishment, in this country. 
Until the year 1852, when the State adopted a system 
of State Almshouses, Eainsford Island was used as a 
quarantine establishment; since then the city of Boston 
has been obliged to change its quarantine ground, and 
the new roads for this purpose are situated near Deer 
Island, the present residence of the Port Physician, the 
position having been selected at the time of the severe 
raging of the ship fever, in the summer of 1847. 

The present quarantine ground is, as has before been 
stated, near Deer Island. In view of the possibility of ■ 
the occurrence of malignant cholera, the city, in the 
spring of 1866, purchased the buildings erected on Gral- 
lop's Island, the United States government no longer 
requiring them for military purposes, and passed an ordi- 
nance on the first day of June, 1866, extending the 
quarantine grounds so as to include Gallop's Island. 

In the olden time the pest house was situated on 
]S^orth Bluff, and more recently the Small-Pox Hospital 
was built upon "West Head. Under the new regime on 
the island new buildings have been erected, and the old 
ones repaired and applied^ to new purposes, agreeably to 
the requirements of the present institution. Perhaps it 
will be well, as a matter of record,' to mention in this 
connection the present positions of the buildings upon 
the island. On the Great Head, upon the easterly part 
of the l^orth Bluff, as it is called, is situated an airy 
looking house, which in recent years has been occupied 
by the superintendent of the institution. West of this 
are two buildings, the most southerly of which was built 


in the year 1819, and is designated as the Old Hospital, 
the Mansion House of quarantine days; while that just 
north of it is commonly known as the New Female Hos- 
pital. A short distance south of these, towards the new 
wharf, is a smaller building called the Cottage. Ifot 
far from this, and projecting southerly over the exten- 
sive flats, is a long wharf, the ordinary means of ap- 
proaching the island and its institution. Upon this 
head are several other small buildings, as a bake-house 
and dead-house. In former times the Old Mansion 
House was carried on as a public house, for the special 
accommodation of persons arriving from sea, and for the 
family of the Keeper of the island and of the Resident 
Physician. Just beside the new wharf, and a short dis- 
tance west of it, can be seen the remains of the old 
wharf, which was used previous to the building of the 
present one. After passing the narrow neck, or beach, 
and upon what is called West Head, is a long, low 
building, known in former times as the Bowling Alleys, 
and south of this is a pretentious looking building, 
somewhat resembling a Grecian temple. West of this 
is the burial-ground, and northwest, upon the shore, at 
the extreme part of the point, is the present Small-Pox 
Hospital or Pest House, and from it projects southerly 
a small wharf. The buildings on the large or eastern 
head are chiefly used for the women, and those on the 
small or western head for the men. 

In modern times, previous to the new use of the isl- 
and, it was a famous resort in the sultry part of the 
summer season, when the prevalence of infectious dis- 
eases did not prevent; and the Old Mansion House was 
crowded with occupants from Boston and the neighbor- 
ing towns, as boarders, a privilege which was accorded 


to island keepers bj the authorities. These summer 
parties, which often filled to overflowing the Fever Hos- 
pital (or the Bowling Alleys, as most generally called), 
and the Grecian Temple (or Small-Pox Hospital), the 
buildings since used for the men, will not soon be for- 
gotten by those who partook of the enjoyments under 
the hospitable roofs of Quarantine Island. 

Traditions are extant which would lead to the iafer- 
ence that Raiasford Island had been much used in the 
olden time for burial purposes; but these statements are 
not to be relied upon, and we may rest assured that the 
island was never employed for any such purpose, further 
than for the interment of such persons as have died there 
from infectious disorders, or have been connected with 
the institution. In the old graveyard upon the island 
there are many stones which, if they could speak, would 
tell strange stories. Some of these date back more than 
a hundred years. The remains of many of the old 
keepers of the island repose there in quiet slumber. 
The days are past, but not out of remembrance, when 
persons aflfected with several of the most loathsome in- 
fectious diseases were sent to the "island" almost cer- 
tainly to die; the enlightenment of the present day, 
however, forbids all such outrages. The State, since its 
late connection with the island, has expended large sums 
in improvements and in buildings, amounting to about 
1100,000. At the close of the year 1866, the State 
institution was abandoned, the officers having been dis- 
charged, and the inmates removed. 



Dimensions of Long Island • • • Ancient Description, and Position and Ap- 
proach • • ■ Its Form and Topography ■ • • The Cove • • ■ Sculpin Ledge • • • 
Ancient History of the Island • ■ • Island granted to Boston in 1634 ■ • -Laid 
out into Lots in 1640 • • ■ Early Betterment Law • • ■ Rent for the Free School 

• • ■ Rent Relinquished • •' • Claim of the Earl of Sterling, in 1641 . • • In Pos- 
session of John Nelson ■ ■ • Sold to William and Benjamin Browne in 1690 

• • • Curious Deed • • • Mr. Nelson's Death, and the Division of his Estate 
in the Island, in 1721 ■ • • Island purchased by Charles Apthorp, and subse- 
quently by Barlow Trecothick ■ • • Bought by James Ivers in 1790 • • • Other 
Owners • • ■ Light-House • • • Long Island Hotel. 

Immediately between Spectacle and Eainsford Isl- 
ands lies Long Island, a little less than a mile southeast 
of the former, and somewhat more than half a mile 
northwest of the latter. This island is about a mile and 
three quarters in length from northeast to southwest, 
and about a quarter of a mile in breadth. It derives its 
name from its extreme length, when compared with its 
other dimensions, or, as Mr. William Wood says, in his 
l^ew England's Prospect: "The next Hand of note is 
Long Hand, so called from his longitude." The same 
author, in 1635, writing of the islands in the harbor, 
says : " These lies abound with Woods, and Water, and 
Meadow-ground; and whatsoever the spacious fertile 
Maine affords. The inhabitants use to put their Cattle 
in these for safety, viz. their Rammes, Goates, and 
Swine, when their Come is on the ground." On its 
northwest it is separated from Governor's Island and 


Castle Island by President Eoads; on the north, from 
Deer Island by Broad Sound Channel; on the northeast, 
from IS'ix's Mate and Gallop's Island by extensive shoals; 
and from George's Island and Rainsford Island, by the 
Back "Way on the southeast. It is approached usually 
on its northwesterly side, where the water is deepest, 
and where a wharf has been built, the landing-place 
being about five miles from the end of Long wharf. 

Long Island may be likened in form to a military 
boot, fronting westerly; Long Island Head, sometimes 
called East Head, where the Light-House is, being the 
top, Bass Point the heel, and South Head the toe. It 
contains, by estimation, about two hundred and sixteen 
acres of land, of which about thirty-five are on East 
Head. This head is somewhat circular in form, and is 
very elevated, being seventy feet above the level of 
high- water mark; and it has a very abrupt bluff at its 
northeast, which is constantly wearing away by the ef- 
fects of storms and currents, to the great injury of the 
harbor. The portion of this head which is unprotected, 
and which is furnishing material to fill up the channels, 
is about six hundred and fifty feet in extent. On the 
southeasterly side of this is a cove, which was much 
used in former times as a harbor for the island, afford- 
ing proper shelter for small boats, it being protected 
from sea breakers by a high projecting beach, which, 
during the last twenty years, has been fast disappearing. 
A small wharf jutting out southerly within this cove, 
has been of much service to pleasure parties approach- 
ing the island by the Western Way. This head is sep- 
arated from the main island by a low neck of marshy 
ground. The main island is composed of elevated land, 
gently rolling into eminences, and terminating at South 



Head iu a considerable bluff, forming the toe of the 
boot, l^orthwest of this head is the southerly peninsula 
of Spectacle Island; between these is Sculpin Ledge, 
signalized by Buoy 'No. 2 Ked, making an approach this 
way from the western passage extremely dangerous. 

The usual way to approach Long Island is by pass- 
ing through the Main Ship Channel. By this time the 
reader of these chapters on the harbor is sufficiently ac- 
quainted with the position of Buoys No. 7 Black and 
jIS'o. 8 Eed, just beyond Fort Independence, and a short 
distance south of the westerly end of the Lower Middle 
Shoal. If he passes between these, and proceeds in an 
easterly direction for a quarter of a mile, he will come to 
a point in the channel from whence he can take a south- 
easterly course, passing between Spectacle Island on the 
south and President Roads on the north, and go directly 
to the Long Island wharf, about a mile and three quar- 
ters distant, the wharf being about three quarters of a 
mile due south of the main ship channel. 

The history of this island bears a strong resemblance 
to that of many others in the harbor. It was granted to 
Boston, as has already been stated in a previous chap- 
ter, together with Deer Island and Hog Island, on the 
first of April, 1634, -for the annual rent of two pounds 
for the three ; which grant was afterwards confirmed the 
fourth of March foUowmg, with the same, and Spectacle 
Island added, for the diminished sum of four shillings 
for the four, it being undoubtedly understood to be 
merely a nominal sum or consideration. Very soon 
after the acquirement of the island, the town of Boston 
began to apportion it out to various persons for im- 
provement; and the felling of the trees, with which it 
was well wooded on the arrival of the first settlers of the 


town, took place in real earnest, and it was not long 
before it was so divested of its forests as to become only 
fit for the pastnrage of cattle, sheep, and swine. On the 
twenty-fourth of the twelfth month of the year 1639, 
that is to say, in February, 1639-40, at a town meeting 
of the inhabitants of Boston, the island was directed to 
be laid out into lots for planters. The record of this 
transaction is in the following words, on the fortieth 
page of the first volume of town records, and. in the 
handwriting of Elder Thomas Leverett : " At this meet- 
inge o*^ brother Edward Rainsford & Willyam Hudson 
are appointed to accompany y° surveyor to lay out the 
planting ground at Long Hand, & they are to beginne 
at the east end; & if any have bestowed any labor vpon 
y' w°^ shall fall to another man, he whoe shall enjoy y° 
benefitt thereof shall eyther allow for y^ charge, or 
cleare soe much for y"" other." Here we find an early 
practicall application of the principle of the betterment 
law, with a view to fair treatment of pre-occupants and 
squatters. After a while the town concluded to relin- 
quish the island to the planters, they paying a yearly 
rent for the benefit of the free school ; and we find that 
on the nineteenth of April, 1649, thirty-seven persons, 
whose names are given in the record, " doth bind them- 
selves and theire successors to pay six-pence an accre for 
theire [land] at Longe Hand bye y^ yeare for euer; and 
y' to be for y° vse of the schole, y' soe it maye be 
proprietye to them for euer, and they are to bringe in 
there pay to y" townes treasurer the first of February 
for euer, or else there land is forfeit vnto y" townes dis- 
posing." It appears, however, in 1655, that " a consid- 
erable part of y" rent due to the vse of y" schoole for 
Long Hand & Spectacle Iland " — for the other neigh- 


boring island came into the same category — " is nott 
brought in by y^ renters of y^ land according to y' con- 
tract with y'' towne," and the matter is placed in the 
hands of the constable to distrain for the rent. How 
successful the constable was in this business is not re- 
lated, but things went on so badly, that in the year 
1666-7, on the eleventh of March, the town gave up 
all its rights in the island, and nuUified the agreement 
about the rent of sixpence an acre, relinquishing it en- 
tirely to the renters on the condition of paying up the 
back rent for the benefit of the school, which it is sup- 
posed was done, as the fee of the island is soon found 
firmly established in private hands, free from all encum- 
brances of rents of every description. 

Most all of the islands in the harbor had at some pe- 
riod of their history claimants in the shape of Indians; 
and Long Island, as early as the year 1641, was claimed 
by no less a dignitary than the Right Honorable Wil- 
liam, Earl of Stirling, who on the twenty-eighth of Sep- 
tember of that year recorded a protest, by his agent, 
James Forrett, against Edward Tomlins and others as 
intruders on Long Island. This claim came to nothing, 
and the title proved good to the grantees from the 

In course of time the title became vested, by the pur- 
chase of the renters, in Mr. John Nelson of Boston, — 
the heroic person, who, in 1689, at the head of the sol- 
diery, made Sir Edmund Andros surrender himself and 
the fort on Fort Hill to the incensed colonists, whose 
rights he was then usurping. Mr. Nelson was a patriot 
of some considerable note in his day; he was a near rel- 
ative of Sir Thomas Temple, who made a considerable 
figure this side of the Atlantic in colony times, and was 


also a connection of Governor William Stoughton, 
whose niece, Elizabeth, he married. After gaining pos- 
session of the island (with the exception of about four 
acres and a half, which Mr. Thomas Stanbury, a shop- 
keeper of Boston, and one of the original renters, 
claimed), he sold it to Messrs. William Browne and Ben- 
jamin Browne, of Salem, for £1,200, conveying it by a 
curious deed, dated on the fourth of June, 1690, extracts 
from which will be given, as furnishing a good descrip- 
tion of the island as it was one hundred and seventy- 
six years ago. By a subsequent transaction between 
Mr. IS^elson and the Brownes, the deed of conveyance 
became in effect nothiag but a mortgage, which was 
subsequently annulled, on the twenty-fourth of Septem- 
ber, 1724, by an instrument executed by Colonel Samuel 
Browne, of Salem, acting as executor on the estates of 
the Brownes who had died, William on the twenty-third 
of February, 1715-16, and Benjamin on the seventh of 
December, 1708. The deed alluded to above is very 
curious in its description of Long Island, and is cer- 
tainly worth committing to print; John l^elson, of Bos- 
ton, merchant, and wife Elizabeth, convey "all that cer- 
tain island, tract, or .parcel of land, meadow, or pasture 
comonly called or knowne by the name of Long Is- 
land, scituate, lying and being within the Massachusetts 
Bay in 'New England aforesaid, containing by estima- 
tion two hundred acres of land (be the same more or 
less), butted and bounded !N"ortherly, Southerly, East- 
erly and Westerly by the sea, or howsoever otherwise 
the same is now butted or bounded or reputed to be 
bounded; which s* island, or tract of land was formerly 
granted by the towne of Boston unto sundry inhabitants 
thereof, and since purchased by the said John lifelson. 


now in the tenure, holding or occupation of one Henry 
Mare, together with all and singular the houses, out- 
houses, buildings, barnes, stables, orchards, gardens, 
pastures, ffences, trees, woods, underwoods, swamps, 
marishes, meadows, arrable land, wayes, water-courses, 
easements, comons, comon of pasture, passages, stones, 
beach, fflatts, wharffes, profits, privileges, rights, Hber- 
ties, immunities, commodityes, hereditaments, emolu- 
ments, and appurten"^* whatsoever to the said island, 
land, houses, and premises, or any part or parcel thereof 
belohgiag, or in any wise appertaining, or therewithall 
now or at any time heretofore usually sett, lett, used, oc- 
cupied or enjoyed, or reputed, taken or knowne, as part, 
parcel or member thereof, or of any part thereof," &c., 
reserving the four and, a half acres already mentioned as 
claimed by Mr. Thomas Stanbury. The term of the 
grant was for twelve months, the Brownes "yielding and 
paying therefor the rent of One Pepper Corne upon the 
last day of the said twelve months (if the same be then 
lawfully demanded ") . As one of the Brownes had been 
one of Andros's councillors the previous few years, and 
the other was ripening for a seat in the Provincial 
CouncU, it may be easily imagined how so bombastic a 
document could have been drawn up on so small an oc- 
casion, as if it were a whole province or even continent 
that was to be granted by letters patent, with the broad 
seal appendant. 

Like many charters, the appendix so modified it that 
the deed served only as a mortgage deed, and the fee in 
the estate reverted to the heirs of Mr. Nelson; for he 
died on the fifth of December, 1721, and the estate fell 
to his heirs, and was divided into seven parts; two of 
these descended to John and Mary, the heirs of his 


oldest son, Temple IN'elson; one to Nathaniel Hubbard 
by his wife Elizabeth; one to the heirs of Henry Lloyd 
by right of his wife Eebecca; one to John Steel by 
right of his wife Margaret; and one to Robert Temple 
by right of liis wife Mehitable. Eobert Temple bought 
Tip four of these shares; and then he and the others 
conveyed by separate deeds the whole island to Mr. 
Charles Apthorp, of Boston, merchant, who died in pos- 
session of it on the eighteenth of November, 1758, being 
sixty years of age. The Apthorp heirs subsequently , 
sold to Barlow Trecothict, Esq., an alderman and Lord 
Mayor of London, who had married the eldest daughter 

After the death of Trecothick, the island passed, on 
the eleventh of June, 1790, into the possession of his 
brother-in-law, Charles Ward Apthorp, Esq., of New 
York, who, on the thirteenth of June, 1791, sold it to 
James Ivers, of Boston. Mr. Ivers died in Boston on 
the thirteenth of June, 1815, aged eighty-eight years, 
devising his real estate to his two daughters, Hannah, 
the wife of Jonathan Loring Austin, and Jane, the wife 
of Benjamin Austin, and their heirs. On the first of 
October, 1847, the Ivers heirs conveyed all of the island, 
except the East Head, to Thomas Smith, of Cohasset; 
and finally it became vested in the Long Island Com- 
pany, which was incorporated by an act of the legisla- 
ture, passed the first of May, 1849. 

In 1819 a lighthouse was established on Long Island 
Head. Its tower, twenty-two feet in height, is built of 
iron, painted white, with a black lantern containing nine 
burners, which is about eighty feet above the level of 
the sea, and yields a fixed light that can be seen on a 
clear night about fifteen miles. It was refitted in 1855, 


and has for its object the guidance of vessels up the 
roads of the harbor. It is situated in a square enclos- 
ure of ground, on the summit of the Head. Withiu the 
square is a comfortable stone house, and other small 
buUdings, for the accommodation of the keeper, and a 
remarkably good well of fresh water. This square is 
encompassed on the northerly and westerly sides by the 
remains of an old redoubt which are fast disappearing 
from view. The prospect from this Head is surpassed 
by none that can be obtained from any of the eminences 
upon the other islands in the harbor. 

Long Island is one of the pleasantest places in the 
harbor for summer residences, and undoubtedly before 
long it wUl prove a desu-able resort for such purposes. 
The hotel erected by the Long Island Company is com- 
modious and convenient, and has at times been popular. 
The recent use of the island by the State, as a place of 
rendezvous for Massachusetts soldiers, previous to tlieir 
being mustered into the service of the United States, 
has in a great degree prevented the island from being 
used according to the intentions of the laud company 
which attempted its settlement. During most of the 
last century it was improved as a farm, and families re- 
sided upon it; but lately it has been put to little use 
except for pasturage. Should the Long Island Com- 
pany succeed, we may yet expect to see upon the Island 
a flourishing village of rustic cottages and more impos- 
ing villas. 

Having made a short survey of the largest island in 
the harbor, the writer is now ready, to take a hasty view 
of the few remaining ones, before eoncludiug his de- 



Nix's Mate, formerly an Island of Twelve Acres • • • Granted to Captain John 
Gallop in 1636 ■ • ■ Rescue of the Body of John Oldham • ■ • Distance of Nix's 
Mate from Boston • • • Its Form and Construction ■ • • Tradition about its 
Name • • • Account of Piracy of William Fly, and his Execution in 1726 • • . 
Nix's Mate, a Place of Execution for Pirates • • • Execution of Quelch, Haw- 
kins, Bellamy, Anchor, and White • • ■ Notice of Captain Gallop • ■ • Various 
Passages • • ■ North and South Broad Channels • ■ • The Narrows • ■ • Hunt's 
Ledge • • • Toddy Rocks ■ • ■ Thieves' Ledge • • • Good Fishing Grounds ■ • • 
Other Ship Passages. 

Eetuening in a northeasterly direction to the Main 
Ship Channel, the reader will come in sight of a pecu- 
liarly shaped monument, a tall pyramid, upon a square 
stone base, the whole about thirty-two feet in height, 
and resting upon what, at low tide, appears to be an ex- 
tensive shoal covered with stones of a size suitable for 
ballast for vessels. This shoal, about an acre in extent, 
is what remains of a once very respectable island, as far 
as size is concerned j for it is seen, by referring to the 
Massachusetts Colony Records, that, on the eighth of 
September, 1636, "there is twelve acres of land graunted 
to John Galop, upon !N^ixes Hand, to enjoy to him & 
his heires forever, if the iland bee so much." How 
much land Captain Gallop actually found cannot now 
be ascertained exactly; but that there was once enough 
to answer for pasturage ground is well known, through 
traditions very reliably transmitted from a period less 



than a hundred years back, when the island was used 
for the purpose of grazing sheep. Mr. Gallop was a 
noted pilot in his day, and is said to have been better 
accpainted with the harbor than any other man of his 
time. On the fourth of September, 1633, he piloted into 
Boston harbor, by a new way, probably the Black Rock 
passage, the ship Griffin, containing, among its passen- 
gers, Rev. John Cotton, Elder Thomas Leverett, and 
many others, who afterwards proved to be some of the 
most desirable of the !N"ew England colonists. To his 
ability as a pilot and fisherman he added that of a good 
fighter j for, on one occasion, in July, 1636, he, with his 
two young sons, John and Samuel, and his boatman, he- 
roically fought fourteen Indians, and rescued the body 
of his friend John Oldham, whom the savages had most 
cruelly murdered. Although Mr. Gallop lived at the 
north end of Boston, near the shore, where his boat 
could ride safely at anchor, he owned Gallop's Island, as 
a farm, a meadow lot on Long Island, and a pasture for 
his sheep upon Nix's Mate. How unkind it is, at this 
late time, to rob him of the good name he gave his isl- 
and, and to call it, in a Frenchified manner, Galloupe's 
Island! One would almost believe that old Captain 
John and his good wife Christabel (although one died 
in January, 1649-50, and the other on the twenty- 
seventh of September, 1655) would return to earth and 
remonstrate against the outrage. 

N"ix's Mate is about five and a half miles southeast- 
erly from Long wharf, and would be one of the great 
dangers of the harbor were it not for the monument 
which stands upon its ruins. This consists of a solid 
piece of stone masonry, forty feet square and twelve 
feet high, which can be ascended on the south side by 


steps, all the stones being securely bolted together by 
copper fastenings ; and upon this is a wooden octagonal 
pyramid, twenty feet in height, painted black. This 
structure is a modern erection, its exact date not known. 
It was probably erected in the early part of the century. 
On the third of March, 1810, the General Court passed 
an act to protect the monument and to prevent the 
removal of rocks, sand, clay or gravel from the island 
under a .penalty now in force. A long hook-like shoal 
extends from it, southwesterly, nearly half a mile. The 
northeasterly part of !N'ix's Mate was in former times a 
low bluff, and was known to the pilots of the olden time 
as Iforth End Point; and not far from this, on the edge 
of the shoal, is attached a black buoy, numbered 9, as a 
warning to mariners, and a guide to a change of course 
to a southeasterly direction through the N^arrows. 

There is a tradition connected with the history of 
this island, probably of modern date, which has no facts 
to sustain it. The story is, that the mate" of a certain 
Captain !N"ix was executed upon it for killing his master, 
and that he, to the time of his death, insisted upon his 
innocence, and told the hangman that in proof of it the 
island would be washed away. As the island bore the 
name of 'Nis. certainly as far back as the year 1636, and 
as no man was executed in the Massachusetts colony for 
murder or piracy so early as this, there is no good reason 
for believing that the name of the island originated in 
the manner given in the tradition. That the island in 
later times was used as a place for the burial of execu- 
ted pirates and mutineers upon the sea is too well 
known to be disputed; an account of a case which hap- 
pened many years ago may not be out of place in this 


A snow, as it was called in the early days of the 
colony, set saU from Jamaica in May, 1726, bound for 
Guinea, under the command of John Green, a master 
mariner. At one o'clock on the morning of the twenty- 
seventh of the same month, one William Ply, then boat- 
swain of the snow Elizabeth, who, together with Samuel 
Cole, Henry Greenvill and others, had conspired to seize 
the captain and mate and then go a-pirating, put their 
design into effect by most barbarously droAvning the cap- 
tain and his mate Thomas JenMns. After this Fly took 
command of the vessel, the name of which he changed to 
Fame's Revenge, and then, beiag well stocked with gun- 
powder, rum and provisions, set saU, first to the Carolinas 
and thence to 'New England, in pursuit of plunder, and 
more particularly in search of a better vessel. On the 
third of the following month, June, he took a sloop 
which he found at anchor off the coast of !N^orth Caro- 
lina, in which was one William Atkinson, a passenger, 
who afterwards proved to be the happy instrument of 
bringing the wretches to justice. It was not long after 
this that Atkinson, with the assistance of several other 
forced men, succeeded, by a stratagem, in seizing the 
three pirates mentioned, together with another man 
named George Condick, all of whom he put in chains 
and brought to Boston, where they were tried on the 
fourth and fifth of July, 1726, and found guilty of 
piracy, and were on the spot sentenced to be hung, the 
captain, William Fly, in chains; but the others, Cole, 
the quartermaster, and Condick and Greenvill, were re- 
lieved from this extreme disgrace. Fifteen forced sea- 
men, taken on board the piratical vessel, were acquitted 
and discharged. An account of the execution, which 
took place at Charlestown Ferry, is thus given in the 


Boston News-Letter, published on the fourteenth of 
July, 1726: "On Tuesday the twelfth instant, about 3 
P. M., were executed here for Piracy, Murder, &c., three 
of the condemned Persons mentioned in our last, viz., 
William Fly, Capt. Samuel Cole, Quarter-Master, and 
Henry Greenvill; the other, viz., George Condick, was 
.Reprieved at the place of execution, for a Twelve Month 
and a Day, and is to be recommended to His Majesty's 
Grace and Favor. Fly behaved himself very unbecom- 
ing even to the last; however, advised Masters of Ves- 
sels not to be Severe and Barbarous to their Men, which 
might be a reason why so many turn'd Pirates; the other 
Two seem'd Penitent, beg'd that others might be warned 
by 'em. Their Bodies were carried in a Boat to a small 
Island call'd !N"icks's-Mate, about 2 Leagues from the 
Town, where the abovesaid Fly was hung up in Irons, 
as a Spectacle for the Warning of others, especially Sea 
faring Men; the other Two were buried there." The 
burial of these men, and the gibbeting of Captain Fly, 
who had been boatswain under Captain Green, may 
have given origin to the tradition. 

The infamous notoriety which this island bore from 
tradition was equally shared by other localities. Bird 
Island and its . shoal, and the flats at the confluence of 
Charles Eiver into the main channel, are frequently al- 
luded to as the places of execution and burial of crimi- 
nals. John Quelch, and his six companions in piracy, 
were hung on the thirtieth of June, 1704; Thomas 
Hawkins, a young man of the most respectable connec- 
tion in the province^ was executed, with his nine associ- 
ates, on the twenty-seventh of January, 1689-90; Samue^ 
Bellamy and his six pirates, paid their forfeit in ^'^j. 
1717; and John Rose Archer and William Whi^^ ^^^'^ 




gibbeted on an island on the second of June, 1724, for 
piracy. These criminals probably met their deserved 
fate at some of the above named places. Murderers 
and burglars were executed anciently on the Common 
or IN'eck. 

The execution of Quelch and his partners in crime is 
thus mentioned in the Boston IS'ews-Letter, printed 
three days after the event. A broadside was also 
printed and distributed at the same time, and is pre- 
served in the archives of the Massachusetts BUstorical 
Society. The execution took place on Charles River 
flats, Boston side. "On Friday" [30 June, 1704] "was 
carried to the Place of Execution Seven Pirates to be 
Executed, viz.; Capt. John QuelcTi, John Lambert, 
Christopher Scudamore, John Miller, Erasmus Peterson, 
Peter Poach & Francis King; all of which were Exe- 
cuted, excepting the last named, who had a Reprieve 
from his Excellency. And notwithstanding all the 
great labour and pains taken by the Reverend Ministers 
of the Town of Boston, ever since they were first Seized 
and brought to Town, both before and since their Trial 
and Condemnation, to instruct, admonish, preach and 
pray for them; yet as they led a wicked and vitious life, 
so to appearance they dyed very obdurately and impeni- 
tently, hardened in their sin. 

"His Excellency intends to send an Express to Eng- 
land, with an Account of the whole matter to Her 

Captain John Gallop, the first grantee of I^ix's Mate, 
came to Boston as early as 1630, in which year he was a 
townsman of Dorchester. He was soon after a resident 
of Boston, Avhere he had a house and wharf-right, and 
also had a grant of meadow land on Long Island of four 


acres very early j for these, together with Gallop's Is- 
land, are mentioned in his inventory taken on the 
twenty-sixth of February, 1649-50, probably a month 
after his decease. How he became dispossessed of 
IS^ix's Mate does not appear, as no conveyance of it by 
him or his heirs is to be found on record. 

From [tiTix's Mate the reader can proceed northeasterly 
through either the North or the South Broad Channels, 
between Deer Island on the north and Lovell's Island 
on the south, into Broad Sound, and thence to sea. 
But the usual course out of the harbor is southeasterly 
through the Main Ship Channel, between Lovell's Island 
on the north and Gallop's Island and George's Island on 
the south, where the channel is called The IS'arrows ; and 
by pursuing the way southeasterly, leaving the Beacon 
(or Bug Light) on the Great Brewster's Spit and Buoy 
No. 6 Red to the north, and Buoys No. 7 and 5 Black 
to the south, and passing out to sea between the Brew- 
sters and Shag (or Egg) Rocks on the north, and the 
Centurion (No. 8 Black) and Hunt's Ledge and Toddy 
Rocks (No. 3 Black) off the shore of Hull, and Point 
Allerton and its Beacon and Buoy No. 1 Black on the 
south. A due east course of about three miles and a 
half will strike upon Thieves' Ledge, a noted fishing 
place. The proper course to this spot will be to pro- 
ceed due east from the buoy until Green Island can be 
seen at the north of the Outer Brewster, and a tree on 
Little Hog Island (just south of Hull) can be noticed 
over the low land on Nantasket Beach just south of' 
Point Allerton. A good fishing ground for flounders is 
said to be exactly midway between George's Island and 
"Windmill Point at Hull. About a mile southeast of 
Point Allerton is another well-known fishing ground. 


There are other passages out of the harbor be- 
sides those above mentioned. The Western, or Back 
Way, alluded to in a previous chapter, leads from the 
southeasterly side of Long Island and from Eainsford 
Island, through the northerly part of N^antasket Roads, 
southwest of Gallop's and George's Islands, and be- 
tween the Centurion and Hunt's Ledge, to the main 
ship channel. Ships have been known to pass from the 
harbor by the way of Point Shirley Gut. Governor 
Winthrop states, in his invaluable journal, that "the 
Barnstable ship went out at PuUen Point to Marble 
Harbour," (Marblehead,) on the twenty-second of Sep- 
tember, 1632, By the same authority we learn, as stated 
before, that Captain John Gallop 'brought in the Griffin 
a new way by Lovell's Island, at low tide, then called 
Griffin's Gap. This gap was probably what is now 
called Black Hock Channel, which connects with Hypo- 
crite Channel, that leaving Alden's Buoy and the Devil's 
Back at the north, leads to sea between Green and Calf 



The Narrows ■ • • Gallop's Island • • • Granted early to John Gallop ... Its Form 
• • ■ Its Approach and Appearance • • • Its early Owners • • ■ Purchased by the 
City of Boston in 1860 ■•• Famous as a Place of Rendezvous for Pleasure 
Parties • • • Used for Government Purposes • • • Attached to Quarantine Es- 
tablishment in 1866 • . • Sea-wall commenced in 1868 • • • Lo veil's Island • • ■ 
Its Position, Form and Size • • • Origin of its Name • • • Its Topography • • • 
Whiting Ledge, Earn Head, and Man of "War Bar • ■ • The Great Rock, and 
a Remarkable Shipwreck • • • History of Lovell's Island • • • Granted to Charles- 
town in 1636 • • • Sold to Elisha Leavitt in 1767 •• • Purchased by Boston in 
1825, and sold to United States Government • • • Modern Uses of the Island • • • 
Sea-wall at Ram's Head ■ • • "Wreck of the Magniflque in 1782 • • • The poor 
Pilot turned Sexton . • . The Man of War America • • • Injury to the Narrows 
caused by the Wreck. 

Leaving Buoy ISTo. 9 Black, just north of Nix's Mate, 
and proceeding down the harbor (taking the channel 
described in a previous chapter as The !N^arrows), about 
three quarters of a mile southeast of the Mate will be 
seen Lovell's Island on the northeast, and Gallop's 
Island on the southwest. 

Of these, Gallop's Island appears very early under 
the jurisdiction of the town of Hull, and in the actual 
possession of Captain John Gallop, at whose decease, in 
January, 1649-50, it was apprised at £12 in value, and 
was estimated to contain about sixteen acres. This 
island, which on the chart very much resembles in form 
a leg of mutton, with its shank pointing easterly to the 
peculiar structure familiarly known as Bug Light, holds 


an important position in the harbor, forming with Lov- 
ell's Island at its north the barrier of the Il^arrows, — 
the deep channel for the ingress and egress of all the 
large vessels when heavily freighted. 

Gallop's Island is approached on its southern side, 
which lies very commodiously to the !N^antasket 
Eoads at its south, a most noted place of anchorage. 
The north side ' is a very abrupt and high bluflf, upon 
which, during the Revolution, earthworks were thrown 
up for defensive purposes. The eastern part of the 
islaAd is formed into a low Beachy Point, so called, 
being composed chiefly of small stones and gravel. This 
has always been noted as one of the most fertile of the 
islands of the harbor, and has, from time immemorial, 
been cultivated as a farm, in the days of the old quaran- 
tine regulations, the occupant supplying the vessels in 
the Hospital Roads with vegetables and milk, and pure 
water from a never-failing spring. Early during the 
last century it was jointly owned by Elisha Leavitt of 
Hingham, a large landholder, and James Brackett of 
Quincy. Mr. Leavitt died in 1790, leaving his half to 
his grandson, Caleb Rice of Hingham, who subse- 
quently purchased of Mr. Brackett his half, and in 
April, 1812, conveyed the whole to Lemuel Brackett of 
Quincy, for $1,630. Mr. Brackett and his wife, Sarah, 
by two deeds, dated first of October, 1814, and first of 
July, 1819, conveyed the same to Peter !N^ewcomb, the 
then tenant of the island, for $1,815. Mr. I^ewcomb 
died on the twenty-second of April, 1833, aged fifty- 
two years, and was buried at Hull, leaving the estate to 
his wife Margaret, who survived him some years, and 
then dying, left the estate to her son Charles, who sold 
it to the city of Boston on the nineteenth of May, I860, 


for $6,500. Since the decease of Mrs. !N'ewcomb the 
island has been a famous place of resort for pleasure 
parties, and the name of Snow, one of its most noted 
occupants, will long be remembered by the numerous 
persons who have partaken of his good cheer and re- 
markable style of hospitality. 

Soon after the breaking out of the late war, the island 
was lent to the general government as a rendezvous 
for enlisted soldiers ; and its green hill was covered with 
tents and barracks, and its turf was trodden down, 
and its pleasant appearance almost blotted out. With 
the exception of a very small portion of Long Island, 
which at one time was used for a similar purpose, it was 
the only place within sight of the quiet city that exhib- 
ited conclusive evidence of actual war; for the forts 
were so well managed, and their warlike inmates so 
carefully kept within their walls, that the innocent look- 
ing guns from the ramparts gave no alarm to those 
engaged in business or in seeking pleasure in harbor 
excursions. At the close of the war, the establishment 
at Gallop's Island became unnecessary, and the island 
was deserted by the soldiery, and the barracks conse- 
quently vacated. This seemed opportune ; for the city, 
in view of the danger of threatening infectious disease, 
appeared to require more tfian ordinary quarantine ac- 
cbmmodations. An agreement was entered into with 
the United States authorities by which the city came in 
possession of the government barracks; and an ordi- 
nance was passed by the city council, which took effect 
on the first of June, 1866, by which Gallop's Island was 
annexed to the quarantine establishment of the city. 
Fortunately this prudent measure of the city govern- 
ment was never put into use by the advent of the much 


dreaded disease ; but the city very properly added much 
to the eflS.eiency of its already possessed resources. In 
consequence of the wearing away of the high bluff on 
the northerly side of the island, it became necessary that 
a sea-wall should be constructed for the protection of 
this part of the island. This waU was commenced in 
1868 by Major-General J. Gr. Foster, and will probably 
be completed in 1870. 

The next object that demands attention is Lo veil's 
Island, which lies northeast of the I^arrows, and much 
resembles in form a dried salt fish. As it is bounded 
on the southwest by the IKTarrows, so it is on the east 
by Black Rock Channel. It is about three-quarters of a 
mile in length from northwest to southeast, and about 
one-third of a mUe wide in its greatest breadth. It took 
its name, undoubtedly, from Captain WUliam Lovell, 
who was of Dorchester in 1630; and it contains one large 
hUl, with marshes to its north, east and south, and 
several small salt-water ponds. "Whiting Ledge is at its 
southerly point; and Eam Head (whose shoal is denoted 
by Eed Buoy No. 10 and Black Buoy 'No. 5) is a projec- 
tion from its northerly point, where there has been erected 
a sea-wall to prevent the washing away of this exposed 
part of the island. At its extreme westerly point is 
Man of War Bar, which in the latter days of the Revo- 
lutionary War proved to be a great impediment to the 
navigation of the harbor. On the top of the hill may 
be seen by every passer-by a large boulder that has 
served many generations as a comfortable cooking 
place. A little more than forty years ago, in mid- 
winter, a packet vessel from Maine struck upon Rams 
Head in the dead of night, causing immediate ship- 
wreck; and, although all the passengers, fifteen in num- 


ber, succeeded in landing and procuring shelter beside 
the Great Rock, they all froze to death before morning, 
it being one of the coldest nights of the year, the ther- 
mometer indicating in the neighboring towns a temper- 
ature several degrees below zero. On the morning 
succeeding this dreadful event, the bodies were found 
closely huddled together in the eternal sleep of death. 
Two young persons who were about to be married, and 
who were coming to Boston for making marriage pur- 
chases, were found dead beside the rock locked in each 
other's arms. Few, in their hilarious moments, under 
this benevolent boulder, little dream of the agony of 
that awful night. 

The earliest mention of this island is to be found in 
the Massachusetts Colony records, where, under date of 
the twenty-eighth of October, 1636, the following entry 
occurs : " Lovels Hand is graunted to Charlestowne pro- 
vided they imploy it for fishing by their owne townes- 
men, or hinder not others." Any one who knows the 
island now, would hardly expect to find upon the records 
such an entry as the following: " The iland called Lov- 
els Iland is given unto the inhabitants of Charles 
Towne, Ss their heires & succeass" forever; |)vided, 
that halfe of the timber & fire wood shall belong to the 
garrison at the Castle, to be impved wholly there. 
This was ordered with consent of the deputies of 
Charles Towne." There may be, however, some per- 
sons living who can remember the large tree that for- 
merly stood on the south point of the island, as it was a 
mark used by all the pilots of the olden time in guiding 
them up the harbor. Similar trees, which have likewise 
disappeared, were preserved upon nearly all the islands 
for the same purpose. 


On the fourth of June, 1767, this island was sold by 
a vote of the inhabitants of Oharlestown, passed on the 
second of March preceding, to Elisha Leavitt, of Hing- 
ham, for the sum of £266 13s. 4d. " together with the 
dwelling house and all other buildings and fences 
thereon standing." Mr. Leavitt left it, in 1790, to his 
grandson Caleb Kice, before mentioned; and from him 
the estate passed into the possession of the city of Bos- 
ton on the second of May, 1825, together with George's 
Island, both for the sum of |6,000; and the city con- 
veyed it immediately to the United States Grovernment 
for the same amount of money. At the time of pur- 
chase by the city, this and Gallop's Island were in the 
occupancy of John Spear, who had erected fences and 
buildings upon them. 

In modern times, the chief use to which the island 
has been put is that of pasturing horses; yet there are 
many persons who can well remember the time when it 
served as a run for tame rabbits, that in almost count- 
less numbers wandered over its pasture ground, and 
supplied the markets with dainties for the palate, 
and the young Boston boys and girls with beautiful 
and harmless pets. 

The washing away of this island early called the at- 
tention of Boston to the protection of its headlands and 
points; and in 1843, on petition of the city government, 
a resolve was passed by the General Court of the Com- 
monwealth, instructing its Senators and Representatives 
in Congress to exert themselves to procure the passage 
of measures which should prevent further injury to the 
harbor from this cause. By the exertion of these mem- 
bers of Congress, an appropriation of $15,000 was ob- 
tained for the protection of Lovell's Island, and the 


same was expended for the erection of the sea-wall at 
Ram's Head, by Brigadier-General Sylvanu-s Thayer, 
then Colonel of Engineers. In 1849, an additional 
amount of about $5,000 was expended by the same officer 
in the construction of stone jetties. A further sum of 
$2,000 was used by Colonel Grraham, also of the Engi- 
neers, during the years 1864-1866, for work done upon 
the same wall. Between the years 1866-1869 inclusive, 
$38,000 were expended by Major-General Henry W. 
Benham in repairs of the old wall, and in the con- 
struction of a new wall for the southeast head of the 

Perhaps it would seem wrong, if, in this connection, 
the famous shipwreck of 1782 should be passed over in 
silence. It will be remembered by the older inhabitants 
that Boston harbor was frequently visited by the naval 
forces of France (then the Revolutionary ally of the 
United States) for supplies and repairs. . The Count 
D'Estaing was here in the fall of 1778, and a part of the 
fleet of the Count de Grasse in 1782, just after his un- 
fortunate and unsuccessful attempt in the West Indies, 
where he was so completely and dreadfully defeated. 
Admiral Yaubaird, with fourteen sail of this fleet, arrived 
in Boston harbor on the eleventh of August, 1782, being 
a division of the unfortunate fleet of the Count. On 
entering the harbor through the liTarrows, the pilot 
(with shame be it said, a Bostonian) conducted the 
Magnifique — as its name implied, a magnificent French 
seventy-four — against the bar at the western head of 
Lovell's Island, and there it sank; and there its skeleton 
lies at the present day, imbedded in sand. Several at- 
tempts have been made to obtain treasures from this 
wreck, but they have not proved to be in any degree re- 


munerative. One attempt, made about thirty or more years 
ago, gave no return except specimens of very beautiful 
wood, of which the vessel was built. In July, 1859, another 
trial was equally unsuccessful. Truly, copper, lead, and 
cannon-shot in considerable quantities were obtained; 
but except the beautiful sight of immense quantities of 
perch and other small aquatics, the divers got vet-y little 
else, except now and then the bite of a savage lobster, 
who held on to the poor fellows' fingers as tenaciously 
as does the bull-terrier sometimes with his more fero- 
cious grip. The French fleet left the harbor on the 
twenty-fourth of the following December, and the pUot 
was transferred " up town " to become a sexton and im- 
dertaker, he having served, as it was thought, a suffi- 
cient apprenticeship in burying. This distinguished in- 
dividual was for many years sexton to the l^Tew N^orth 
Church, then under the pastoral care of the famous 
John Eliot; and it was no unconunon thing to find, on 
Sunday mornings, chalked upon the meeting-house 
door, the following significant lines: — 

" Don t you run this ship ashore, 
As you did the seventy-four." 

The loss of the French man-of-war was a serious 
matter for young America. Congress built a seventy- 
four gun ship, called "The America," at Portsmouth, 
the first line-of-battle ship ever built in America; and it 
was launched on the fifth of Il^Tovember, 1782, and its com- 
mand awarded to Commodore John Faul Jones. This 
vessel was presented to Louis XVI. the same year to re- 
place the lost Magnifique. But it came finally to a poor 
market, for it was captured fi'om the French by the 
English, and became a part of the great English navy. 


The bar where the Magnifique was lost, and which has 
sometimes been called Man of "War Island, has been filled 
up by the action of the tides and currents to such an ex- 
tent that a large portion of it has been converted into solid 
land, and the place in which the main part of the wreck 
of the ship is buried is now never overflowed at high 
water , by the ordinary tid-es. During the operation of 
removing the southwest portion of this island, under the 
direction of Major-General J. Q. Foster, U. S. Engi- 
neers, during the years 1868 and 1869, for the purpose 
of widening the main ship channel, large pieces of planks 
and portions of massive oak timbers were struck at 
depths of twenty-one to twenty-five feet, and brought 
up by the machine. These were evidently fragments of 
the old seventy-four. 




Broad Sonnd Channel, and its Branches, North and Soath Channels • ■ • Middle 
Ground • ■ • Black Hock Passage and Hypocrite Channel • ■ • George's Island, 
formerly Pemberton's Island, and its Ancient History • • • Bought by Boston 
in 1825, and conveyed to the United States • • • Size and Topography • • • 
Fort Warren ■ • • Old Earthworks • ■ • Approach to George's Island • • • Its 
recent Use • . . Pettick's Island, and its Form and Topography ■ • • Prince's 
Head, and Pig's and Harry's Bocks ■ • • Sheep, Grape, and Slate Islands • • • 
Pumpkin (or Bumkin) Island, properly Ward's Island, Devised to Har- 
vard College in 1682 • • . Islands in Hingham Harbor, Langley's Ragged, 
Sarah's and Button Islands • • • Nut Island, sometimes called Hoffs Tombs 
...Raccoon Island- •■ Main Ship Channel ■■■ Outer Light... Brewster's 
Spit . • . Corwin Rock • • • Spit (or Bug) Light, built in 1856 • • • Centurion 
and Kelley's Rocks • • . Shoal and Kelp Ledges • • • Nash's Rocks • • . Thieves' 
Ledge • • • Ancient Description of Entrance to the Harbor • . • The French 
Men-of-War, the Magniflque and the Somerset. 

To the north of Lovell's Island, described in the last 
chapter, Broad Sound Channel diverges into JS'orth and 
South Channels, which pass by the Middle Ground and 
proceed directly to sea in a northeast course between 
N"ahant and the cluster of small islands, that, w:ith the 
Brewsters, form the group at the entrance of the harbor. 
At the east, however, of Lovell's Island is Black Eock 
Passage 5 which, running out in a northeasterly direction, 
separating it from the Spit (or Bug Light) on the long 
bar of the Great Brewster, passes into Hypocrite Channel 
that leads to sea easterly between Calf and Green Islands. 
Exactly south of Lovell's Island lies George's Island, 
which helps make the boundary of the Narrows on the 


southern side. This island was early in the possession 
of James Pemberton, an inhabitant of Hull; and it ap- 
pears from the following record, of the twenty-seventh of 
May, 1622, that his claim to it was very early disputed : 
"In answer to the petition of James Pemberton, who 
pduced seueral testemoneyes for his infest & pprietie 
to an iland called Pembertons Hand, it is ordered by 
this Court, that, if Pemberton, his attumey, heires, or 
assignes, shall make proofe vppon oath, according to 
law, that he had possession & improuement of the s^ 
iland by the consent & approbation of the antient inhab- 
itants or planters residents in or about the Matachusetts 
Bay aboue fower & twenty yeares agoe, then the s^ iland 
shalbe, & is declared to be his, & his heires for euer, the 
oath to be taken at the next County Court, who shall re- 
corde the same & certify the next session of this Court 
thereof." Mr. Peniberton produced the required proof, 
and a record was made on the nineteenth of the follow- 
ing October, that " The Court doth judge that the testi- 
monyes j)duced to proue the iland mentioned in James 
Pembertons, & called by his name, to bclonge to him, 
doe fully proue the same, & doe therefore declare the s^ 
iland to be his propriety." 

Mr. Pemberton died at Maiden on the fifth of Febru- 
ary, 1661-62, and in course of time the estate of the 
island, which was then known as Pemberton's Island, 
passed into the possession of Samuel Grreenleaf, who died 
on the seventh of August, 1737, aged fifty-six; and the 
estate, on the death of his wife Martha, on the twenty- 
second of February, 1757, at the age of seventy-eight 
years, fell to their daughter Hannah Greenleaf, whose 
executor sold it to Elisha Leavitt on the seventh of 
April, 1765, for the sum of £340, lawful money of the 


Province. Mr. Leavitt devised it, as has been said be- 
fore, together with Lovell's Island, in 1790, to Caleb 
Eice, from whom in 1825 it passed to the city of Bos- 
ton. Both of these islands are now the property of the 
United States. 

In all the descriptions of this island, it is said to con- 
tain about thirty-five acres. Following the course of 
the Ship Channel, it is exactly seven miles from the end 
of Long wharfj although on the charts, its distance, 
in nautical measure, is found to be a little over six 
miles. It had on its east and northeast sides an ele- 
vation nearly fifty feet above high water mark, with an 
easy descent in the other directions, which, together 
with its situation, made it peculiarly adapted for the pur- 
poses of a fortress. The side exposed to the beating of 
the sea has been somewhat protected by a sea-wall, and 
a very strong fort, by the name of Fort Warren, has 
been erected upon it. The building of the fort was 
commenced by the United States Government in April, 
1833, the survey having been commenced on the 
thirteenth of the preceding September. Its walls 
are constructed of Quincy granite, nicely hammered, 
the inferior material for foundations and rough work, 
however, having been brought from Cape Ann. A 
portion of the casemates are covered with earth, piled 
up in artistic manner, and well sodded. Over the 
main entrance, and within the fort, is a tablet bear- 
ing the following inscription: — 


This is not the first attempt at fortifying George's 
Island. In the autumn of the year 1778, while the ves- 
sels comprising the fleet of the Count D'Estaing were 


riding at Nantasket Roads, an apparently formidable 
earthwork was thrown up on the eastern side of the 
island, for the protection of vessels passing into the har- 
bor against any attack of the English cruisers which 
were then coasting in the neighborhood. Very little 
could be found of these works when the erection of the 
present fort was commenced. 

The approach to George's Island is on the westerly 
side, where the water is deepest, and where a wharf has 
been built for the purpose. At the early part of the late 
war, the fort was used for rendezvous purposes j and 
some of the best regiments recruited in Massachusetts 
were thoroughly drilled within its walls before being 
sent into the field, where they all performed such honor- 
able and distinguished services. During the late years 
of the rebellion, the fort was used as a prison for rebels 
held in durance. 

About a mile south of George's Island is situated 
Pettick's, Pethick's, or Peddock's Island, about a mile 
long, and shaped like a young nondescript animal. The 
first known of it is found under date of the third of 
September," 1634, in the old records, thus; "Peddocks 
Ileland is graunted to the inhabitants of Charlton 
[CharlestoAvn] to enioy to them & their heires, for the 
space of one & twenty yeares, for the yearely rent of 
twenty shillings pvided that if there be a plantacon 
in the meane time setled by the Court att l!^atascett, 
then the' pre"' graunt to be voyde."" On the fourth of 
March, 1634-5, the rent of twenty shillings was reduced 
to twelve pence. The town of l^antasket having been 
commenced in June, 1641, Pettick's and the neighboring 
islands were confirmed to it; and within the next year it 
was divided into lots of four acres each, and given to 


those who took two-acre lots at j^antasket, afterwards 
called Hull. This island has always from that time 
been kept as private property; and on the twenty-eighth 
of April, 1684, the Indian Josiah relinquished all his 
claim to the estate in the right of his father and grand- 
father. The island is divided into two hills, called the 
East and West Heads, between which there is a smaller 
hill ; and just south of this there is an island bluff, called 
Prince's Head, south and east of which are Pig's and 
Harry's Eocks. A pilot for the various approaches to 
"Weymouth resides upon the south side of the East 
Head of this island, which is not more than a quarter of 
a mile southwest of Windmill Point at Hull; and here 
he has his buildings and the approach to the island. 
The southerly point of the island is only about half a 
mile distant from Hough's I^eck, a portion of the town 
of Quincy. 

South of Pettick's Island, and near the entrance to 
Hingham harbor, are several small islands. Of these. 
Sheep Island (sometimes anciently called Sun Island) 
contains two acres, and must have been a very poor 
place for the keeping of sheep, although in the olden 
time it was valued and used for that purpose. Grape 
Island, with its two hills and fifty acres, is separated from 
Weymouth and Crow Point in Hingham by the mouth 
of Weymouth Back River. Slate Island, containing 
about twelve acres, has furnished slate stone (whence 
its name) for building purposes ; and, although the ma- 
terial has not been of a remarkable quality for the pro- 
tection of roofs, it has done good service for underpin- 
ning and for cellar walls. These islands are situated in 
the order mentioned, and lie west of the channel that 
leads to the steamboat wharf at Hingham. 


On the easterly side of Hingham channel lie Little 
Hog Island, and Pumpkin (or BumMn) Island. The 
first of these is a small oblong island of about ten acres, 
lying just south of Hull, and near its shore. 

Pumpkin Island, sometimes called Bumkin or Bom- 
kin Island, but really entitled to be known as Ward's 
Island, is of considerable importance. This has also 
been supposed to be the Kound Island granted to the 
town of Weymouth on the ninth of March, 1636-7, by 
the following brief order: "Round Band & Grape Band 
are graunted to the towne of Weymothe." The island 
is variously estimated to contain from thirty to fifty 
acres of good pasture land, and is beautifully situated 
in Hull shoals, a short distance north of World's End, 
that curious round peninsula attached by a slender bar 
to Planters' Hill in Hingham. Before entering Hing- 
ham harbor, it is the large portion of land which is 
passed lying at the left hand. In course of time, this 
beautiful island is found in the possession of Mr. Samuel 
Ward, who was very early in colony days a land-holder 
in Hingham, Hull, Weymouth and Charlestown. How 
early, and consequently how long, Mr. Ward enjoyed 
this possession is not known- From the jottings of 
Rev. IN'oadiah Russell, while a tutor of Harvard Col- 
lege, it appears that on the thirty-first of August, 1682, 
"Mr. Samuel Ward of Charlestown died and gave 4ZJ. 
per annu. to the college." Be this as it may, no such 
gift appears in his last will; although it may refer to the 
devise of Bomkin Island. Mr. Ward executed his last 
will and testament di Charlestown, on the sixth of 
March, 1681-2, in which is contained" the following: 
" It. I give the Island leying Betwixtt hingam and hull, 
called Bomkin Island unto the coUidge; and my mind is 


that it be called By the name of wards Island." As 
late as the eighth of the succeeding February, he in- 
dorsed on the back of the same instrument the following 
explanatory note: " The Island that I have given to the 
CoUdge which Leyeth Betwixte hingam and hull called 
BomMn Island; my mind is that it shall be and Remain 
for eveer to harford Coledge in newenglandj the Eentt 
of itt to be for the easmentt of the charges of the Diatte 
of the Studanttse that are ia commonse." At the re- 
quest of his daughter, Martha Lobdell of Hull, "the 
estate of the sayed Ward ia hull" was appraised, and 
the last item in the inventory was, " It. more an Island 
knowen by the name of bumMng Island at ner hull, 
80.00.00." This island did actually come into the pos- 
session of Harvard College, and it is now valued 
at about twelve hundred dollars, and produces an in- 
come to the university of fifty dollars a year, which is 
fully equal to that yielded to Boston by the famous 
Franklin Medal Fund, the endowment of the great 

Pm-suing a course due south through Hingham har- 
bor, after passing the strait between Planters' Hill on 
the east and Crow Point on the west, the reader vnll 
notice, first, Langley's Island, then Ragged Island and 
Sarah's Island, and lastly Button Island; after which he 
will soon reach the steamboat wharf. 

About three mUes west of these islands, south of 
Pettick's Island, is !N^ut Island, containing about six 
acres, connected by a bar with Hough's Xeck, on which 
is Braintree Great Hill, and north of which it lies; this 
was frequently called, in old times, HoflPs (or Hough's) 
Tombs. South of this, and east of the Great Hill, is 
Raccoon Island, which has about ten acres of land. A 


short distance to the south of this is Eock Island Cove 
and the small village of Germantown. 

Having described, somewhat fully, the islands of the 
harbor, and the various passages around and among 
them, as well as the numerous small coves or harbors 
connected therewith, it will not be improper, before 
closing the subject, to say a few words concerning the 
group of islands which is situated at the entrance lying 
just north of Hull, and separated from it by the Main 
Ship Channel. But before proceeding to this descrip- 
tion, it may be well to give the reader an idea of its 
principal entrance, usually known as the Maiu Ship 
Channel, lying between the promontory on the south on 
which is situated the town of Hull, and the cluster of 
islands on the north known as the Brewsters, and form- 
ing the most important part of the singular group to be 

This entrance is about two miles long, and little over 
a mile in width, the deepest water being on the northern 
side, near the Great Brewster, and its appendages, — the 
Little Brewster (upon which is the Outer Light), and 
the Long Spit (at the western extremity of which is 
Bug Light). 

In going out of the harbor, having left the !N"arrows, 
the first obstacle that in former days had to be avoided 
is Corwin Rock, that lies on the south, in the flats 
directly on the east side of George's Island. This 
rock, and also Tower Kock, about one hundred feet 
distant, which have always been considered among the 
great dangers of the harbor, were removed during the 
years 1868 and 1869 by submarine drilling and blasting, 
under the direction of Major-General Foster, to the 
depth of twenty-three feet at mean low water. A 



short distance farther on is the odd-looMng struc- 
ture, representing a light-house upon iron stilts. 
This is on a large rock, at the extreme western 
end of the spit, and is sometimes known as the 
Spit Light, and more frequently as Bug Light, although 
it is generally known to seamen as the "Light at the 
I^arrows." It has a fixed red light, and can be seen in 
pleasant weather about seyen miles. The structure is 
painted of a dark color, and its lantern is about thirty- 
five feet above the level of the sea. It was built in 
1856, and is intended, when in range with Long Island 
Light, to lead the mariner clear of Harding's Ledge, a 
inost dangerous obstacle about two mUes out at sea. 
The Black Buoys N'os. 7, 5 and 8, on the south, warn 
of the danger of the Centurion and Kelley's Kocks ; and 
Red Buoy !N"o. 6, on the north of the passage, of the 
shoal and kelp ledges of the Great Brewster's spit. 
Farther on, before the light-house is reached, are If ash's 
Rocks; and then, about two and a half miles beyond 
the light-house is Thieves' Ledge, very dangerous to 
seafarers, but a good fishing ground for pleasure 

In this, connection it may be well to refresh the 
reader with an idea of the mouth of the harbor as it ap- 
peared ui the olden time. Mr. WUliam "Wood, in his 
book entitled "New Englands Prospect," printed in 
1 634, says, " It is a safe and pleasant Harbour within, 
ha,ving but one common and safe entrance, and that not 
very broad, there scarce being roome for 3 ships to 
come in board and board at a time; but being once 
within, there is anchorage for 500 Ships. This Harbour 
is made by a great company of Hands, whose high Clifi's 
shoulder out the boistrous Seas, yet may easily deceive 


any unskilfull Pi ote; presenting many faire openings 
and broad sounds, which aflPord too shallow waters for 
any Ships, though navigable for Boates and small pin- 
naces. The entrance into the great Haven is called 
N'antascot, which is two leagues from Boston; this place 
of itselfe is a very good Haven, where Ships commonly 
cast Anchor, until "Wiade and Tyde serve them for other 
places ; from hence they may sayle to the River of Wes- 
sagusGus, Naponset, Charles River, and Mistiche River, 
on which Rivers bee seated many Townes. In any of 
these fore-named harbours, the Seamen having spent 
their old store of "Wood and "Water, may have fresh 
supplies from the adjacent Hands, with good timber to 
repaire their weather-beaten Ships: Here likewise may 
be had Masts or Yards, being store of such Trees as are 
useful for the same purpose." 

This ancient description may appear too fanciful for 
the modern reader, who has quietly passed through the 
great channels of the harbor, and never seen the large 
trees which would be required to perform the wonders 
described by Mr. "Wood, but it was undoubtedly true 
when written; and it is hardly to be expected, with the 
present size of the merchant vessels that sail from this 
port, that three should attempt a passage through the 
!N^arrows abreast. The uncertainty of this entrance 
without experienced pilots was deeply felt at the time of 
the Revolutionary war, when the Magnifique was lost. 
So was it a few years previous, when the Count d'Es- 
taing, on the twenty-fourth of August, 1778, entered 
the harbor. During his short stay, for he left on the 
fifth of ]S"ovember following, one of his vessels, the 
Somerset, carrying sixty guns, foundered on the thir- 
tieth of October. 



How the Tslands at the Mouth of the Harbor obtained their Names • • • 
Granted to Hull in 1G41 • • • Some of them granted to John Leverett in 1652 
■ • • The Great Brewster • • • Little Brewster • • • Boston Light-bouse, first built 
in 1716 • • • Light-house Keepers, Worthylake, Hayes and Ball • ■ • Light-house 
injured by Fire in 1761- • • Destroyed in 1775, Repaired and Blown Down 
in 1776 ■ • • Bebuilt in 1783-4 • • • Island ceded to the United States in 1790 • • • 
The Middle Brewster and its Houses • • • The Outer Brewster, with, its Spring 
and Artificial Channel • • ■ Egg Rocks • • • Calf Island, with its Grove and 
Beaches • ■ • Little Calf Island • • • Green Island and its Singular Inhabitant ■ • ■ 
Rocks and Ledges ■ • • The Graves • • • Thieves' Ledge • • • Harding's Rocks 
• • -Minot's Ledge Light-house. 

The last chapter completed the description of what is 
strictly called Boston harbor; but this would be in- 
complete, should the group of islands at its entrance 
be passed by without notice. These islands lie be- 
tween the Main Ship Channel on their south, the 
Middle Ground on their west. Broad Sound on their 
north, and the ocean on their east. Most of them 
took their name at the time Mr. Isaac AUerton, the 
famous agent of the Plymouth Colony and a pas- 
senger in the May Flower in 1620, coasted by them 
on his way to Salem on a visit to the Massachusetts 

Most all of these islands were granted to the town 
of Nantasket, now Hull, on the second of June, 1641 ; 
yet, by the following record of the twelfth of October, 
1652, it is evident that Captain John Leverett, who was 


afterwards Major-General of the Colony, and subse- 
quently its Governor, became the legal possessor of 
some of them: "Vppon the petition of Cajp' Joh: 
Leuerett, this Court doth graunt vnto him all those 
small Hands lying within the bay betweene AUerton 
Poynt & !N"ahant, not hereto fore graunted; his father 
putting in money into the common stocke in the begin- 
ning of this plantation, for which he neuer had any con- 
sideration." Here is noticed an act of justice done to 
the eldest son of a good old man, who had died a credi- 
tor to the colony; for it appears by the records of the 
First Church in Boston, that "the Elder, M' Tho: 
Leueritt died the 3 : of y° 2 mo : 1650," having been 
particularly serviceable to the church, town and col- 
ony. On the eighth of March, 1685-6, Robert Coomes 
of Hull, mariner, and Sarah his wife, for the small sum 
of £4, convey to John Loring of Hull the Brewsters 
and other islands, stating in the deed of conveyance 
that they had been granted to said Coomes by the town 
of Hull. 

The first of these islands, as the harbor is left, is the 
Great Brewster, which contains about twenty-five acres 
of land, a great bluff very imperfectly protected by a 
sea-wall being very prominent on its easterly and south- 
easterly parts, which form what is called its Southeast 
Point. This island was purchased in !N'ovember, 1848, 
by the City of Boston, of Mr. Lemuel Bracket, and a 
certain portion of it was ceded in January, 1849, to the 
United States for the purpose of building a sea-wall for 
the protection of the harbor. From this extends west- 
erly, a mile and a half, a long spit, formed of debris, 
which is dry at low tides, and upon the extremity of 
which is the Beacon or Bug Light, mentioned in a pre- 


vious chapter. Southeast of the main body of the G-reat 
Brewster, and connected with it by a bar which is ex- 
posed to view at low water, is Light-house Island, fre- 
quently in ancient writings called the Beacon Island, 
and sometimes the Little Brewster. It owes its impor- 
tance to its imposing position, and as having in early 
times been selected as the site of the chief lighthouse 
of the harbor. This has its West Point. 

The inhabitants of Boston began very early in the 
last century to take into consideration the subject of 
establishing a light-house at the entrance of their harbor, 
so large had become their commerce with foreign coun- 
tries, and their trade with all the other seaport towns of 
the American colonies. On the ninth of March, 1712-13, 
as was customary with the good people of the town, a 
meeting of the inhabitants, qualified to act in the town's 
affairs, was called and held; and, among other matters 
of business, the question of providing for a lighthouse 
was introduced, and it was "voted, that the considera- 
tion of what is proper for the town to do ab* a Light- 
Hous, be referred to the select men." In the course of 
time the matter was introduced into the meetings of the 
General Court, the town of Boston proposing to put up 
the building and maintain the light by rates levied upon 
commerce, as will be seen by the following vote, passed 
by the townsmen in general town meeting, held on the 
thirteenth of May, 1713, ''Voted, That in case the 
Gen" Court shall see cause to proceed to the establish- 
ment of a Lighthouse for the accommodation of vessels 
passing in and out of this harbour. That then the Select- 
men or the Representatives of this town be desired to 
move to the s^ Court that the Town of Boston as a 
Town may have the prefference before any perticuler 


persons in being concerned in the charge of erecting & 
maintaining the same, and being Intitled to the Proffits 
and Incomes thereof." 

On the ninth of June, 1715, the General Court of 
the province passed the following: " Ordered, That a 
Lighthouse be erected at the charge of this Pr'ovmce, at 
the Entrance of the Harbour of Boston, on the same 
Place and Rates proposed in a Bill, projected for the 
Town of Boston's doing it, accompanying this vote, 
and that a Bill be drawn accordingly." On the four- 
teenth of the same month it was ordered in the House 
of Kepresentatives, "that' Mr. William Payne, Col. 
Samuel Thaxter, and Col. Adam Winthrop, with such 
as the Honourable Board shall joyn, be a Committee to 
Build a Light House, at the Entrance of the Harbour 
of Boston, pursuant to the Votes of this Court" j and 
the order was sent up to the council for concurrence, 
and Hon. William Taller and Addington Davenport, 
Esq., were added from that body, and the order ap- 
proved by Governor Joseph Dudley. 

A bill was introduced into the House on the seven- 
teenth of the same June, entitled " An act for Building 
and Maintaining a Light-house upon the Great Brew- 
ster, called Beacon Island, at the entrance of the Har- 
bour of Boston," and was passed through the various 
stages of legislation, until it was finally enacted in July. 
The act, as passed, commenced and ran on as follows : 
"Whereas, the want of a Light-house at the entrance 
of the Harbour of Boston, hath been a great discour- 
agement to navigation, by the loss of the lives and 
estates of several of His Majesties subjects; for preven- 
tion whereof: Be it enacted by His Excellency the 
Governor, Council, and Eepresentatives in General 


Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, that 
there be a light-house erected at the charge of the Prov- 
ince, on the southernmost part of the Great Brewster 
called Beacon Island, to be kept lighted from sun-set- 
ting to sun rising. That from and after the buUding of 
the said light-house, and kindling a light in it, useful for 
shipping coming bito or going out of the Harbour of 
Boston, or any other harbour in Massachusetts Bay, 
there shall be paid to the receiver of imposts, by the 
master of all Ships and Vessels, Except Coasters, the 
Duty of One Peny per Ton, Inwards j and also One 
Peny per Ton, Outwards, and no more, for every Ton 
of burden of the said Vessels before they Load or Un- 
load the Goods therein." The remainder of the act 
states what the measure of the vessel shall be, and also 
what shall be accounted coasters; and after providing 
for the collection and recovery of duties, together with 
other necessary details, declares that the keeper, who 
shall be appointed from time to time by the General 
Court, " shall carefully and diligently attend to this 
Daty at all tunes in kindling the Lights from Sun-set- 
ting to Sun-rising, and placing them so as they may be 
most seen by vessels comuig in or going out," etc. 
Englishmen would say that this act was passed the first 
year of the reign of King George the First. 

In consequence of the determination to build the 
light-house, application was made to the proprietors of 
the undivided land of Hull for a grant of the Little 
Brewster (or Beacon Island) for the purpose. The re- 
sult of the request may be seen in the following extract 
from the Hull Proprietory Records, as determined upon 
on the first of August, 1715, and entered upon the rec- 
ords by Mr. Joseph Benson, the clerk: 


" At a legal meetting of the proprieters of the undi- 
uided land in Township of Hull held one munday the 
first day of August: Liutenaht Goold Seenior was 
chosen Morderattor for the work of the daye. 

"At y" s* meeting Co" Samuel Thaxter applied 
himself to the s* proprieters in the name of the Com- 
mittee appointed by the great and ganarall corte in there 
sessions In June 1715 for the bidding of a light house 
one Beacken Island so caled adioyning to the greate Bru- 
sters northerly from the toun of Hull and being part of 
theire tounship the s* proprieters being censable that it 
will be a ganarall benifit to Trade and that thay in per- 
tieuler shall rape a greate benifite thereby haue at the 
s'* meeting by a Unanimus voate giuen and granted the 
S* Beecan Island to the prouince of the Massatusetts 
Bay for the use of a light house for euer: To Be dis- 
posed of as the gouerment shall see meet: prouided that 
the s* proprieters of the greate Brusters be teept 

The committee appointed to take care for the build- 
ing of the light-house not having leisure, as the Gen- 
eral Court Kecords state on the twenty-fifth of Decem- 
ber, 1715, to oversee and direct that work, it was 
"ordered that the oversight of that work be committed 
to M' "William Payne and, Cap* Zachariah Tuthill, to 
carry on and finish the same agreeable to the Advice 
and Direction they shall from Time to Time receive 
from the said Committee, and that the sum of Sixty 
Pounds be allowed to them for the whole of that service 
when it shall be compleated." This order of the House 
was concurred in by the council, and consented to by 
Lieutenant-Governor "William Tailer, — he who had. 
been appointed the chairman on the part of the council. 



In this stage of affairs it became necessary that a com- 
petent keeper should be selected and appointed; there- 
fore, on the twenty-fifth of June, 1716, the commission- 
ers were empowered to procure a suitable person for the 
purpose, who was to be allowed fifty pounds a year, his 
salary to begin " when the lights are set up." 

The commissioners charged with the duty of build- 
ing the light-house undoubtedly attended faithfully to 
the business; for, on the seventh of l^ovember, 1716, 
the first day of the fall session of the General Court, 
Mr. William Payne presented to the House an account 
of the charge of building the same, amounting to 
£2,385, 17s. 8d. half-penny, whereof £1,900 had been 
paid, which was referred to a committee, who, on the 
seventeenth of the same month reported favorably, and 
the account was allowed and the balance ordered to be 

The first light-house keeper was George Worthylake, 
a husbandman, forty-three years of age, who had been 
brought up in the harbor; for his father, who bore the 
same name, had been for many years previous a resident 
of Pemberton's Island, now called George's Island. He 
himself appears to have dwelt upon Lovell's Island at 
the time, where his farm was, and where his son resided 
after his death. How much was paid him for his ser- 
vices the first year has been stated already; but for his 
second year he was allowed seventy pounds, he having 
petitioned the General Court for an increase of salary 
on account of the loss of fifty-nine sheep, which were 
drowned during the winter of 1716 and 1717, they hav- 
ing been driven into the sea by a storm, through want 
of his care of them, when obliged to attend the light- 
house. Mr. Worthylake was unfortunately drowned. 


together with his wife Ann, and daughter Enth, on the 
third of JiTovember, 1718. This incident was the origin of 
the ballad, called the Lighthouse Tragedy, which Frank- 
lin says he was indticed by his brother to write, print 
and sell about the streets; and which he also says sold 
prodigiously, though it was "wretched stuff." N^ot- 
withstanding the great sale, and consequently extensive 
distribution of the ballad, not a copy of it is known to 
exist, nor has tradition transmitted to us a single line of 
its verses. The unfortunate Mr. "Worthylake had hardly 
been placed in his grave on Copp's Hill, before several 
petitions were sent to the General Court, requesting the 
appointment of persons to the of&ce. That of Mr. John 
Hayes, a mariner, recommended on the sixth of Novem- 
ber, 1718, by the merchants of Boston as an experienced 
mariner and pilot in the harbor, and as an able-bodied 
and discreet person, prevailed; and he was chosen to 
office on the eighteenth of the same month. 

It is supposed that the light-house went on well 
under the management of Captain Hayes, for we hear 
nothing particularly about it until the twenty-second of 
August, 1733, when Captain Hayes, tired of the posi- 
tion, resigned his office to take place on the eighth of 
!N^ovember; and Mr. Robert Ball, recommended by the 
Boston merchants, was elected on the twenty-third of 
August, to fill the place. Captain Ball dwelt upon the 
island, and appropriations were made frequently during 
the years of his service for repairing the light-house,- 
and also his dwelling-house. 

l^ature seems to have provided a most remarkable 
site for this useful structure. The Light-house Island 
(or Beacon Island) might well be called a huge island 
rock; for it contains in surface about two or three acres, 


on three-quarters of an acre only of which is soil, and 
is only connected with the Great Brewster by means of 
a narrow bar, which is covered by the ocean at the high 
tides. The main ship channel, which passes by it, under 
the name of Light-house Channel, is quite narrow and 
deep; so that ships have to pass within a very short dis- 
tance of the island on entering and leaving the harbor. 

The old light-house was much injured by fire in 1751, 
and was repaired with considerable care and expense, so 
that it answered the purpose for which it was intended 
until its final destruction, in 1776. It had been struck 
several times by lightning, and it was with much diffi- 
culty that prejudices could be overcome so as to allow 
of its protection by lightning rods. 

During the American Revolutionary War this build- 
ing fared hard. While it was in the possession of the 
British, the Provincials frequently burnt its combustible 
parts, the tower built of brick being allowed to stand. 
Major Benjamin Tupper, with a party, went from Milton 
on the nineteenth of July, 1775, and destroyed aU its 
woodwork and the glass lantern; and after it was 
repaired by order of the British Admiral Graves, he 
destroyed it again on the thirty-first of July of the same 
year. The British were compelled to evacuate the town 
of Boston on the seventeenth of March, 1776; they did 
not, however, immediately leave the harbor, but for a 
short time did all the mischief they could to the Castle 
and to the buildings upon the several islands within 
their reach. On the thirteenth of June, 1776, nearly 
three months after the British were obliged to take 
refuge on board their vessels, the Continentals began to 
bring their guns to bear on their enemy, and on the 
fourteenth, Mr. Ezeldel Price narrates, "about six 


o'clock (by some accident or mistake the cannon could 
not be fired before), the cannon began from Long Island 
to play upon the shipping which obliged them to weigh 
their anchors, and make the best of their way out of 
their harbor. As they passed !N"antasket and the Light- 
house, our artillery gaye them some shot from iN^antas- 
ket HUl. The enemy sent their boats on shore at the 
Light-house Island, and brought from thence a party, 
there placed, of Regulars; after which they destroyed 
the Light-house, and then the whole fleet made aU the 
sail they could, and went to sea, steering their course 
eastward." The commander of this ship, the Renown, 
of fifty guns. Captain Bangs, after taking off his men 
from the island, left a quantity of gunpowder so ar- 
ranged that it took fire in about an hour afterwards, and 
blew up the brick tower. 

On the eighth of !N"ovember, 1780, G-ovemor Han- 
cock sent a message to the legislature, recommending 
that a light-house should be erected at the entrance of 
the harbor upon the site of the old one, which had been 
in ruins more than four years. In due time the legis- 
lature acted upon the recommendation, by aj)pointing a 
committee, from whicJi, after much urging, they obtained 
a report on the eighth of October, 1783. From this re- 
sulted -the building of the light-house, and the passage 
of an act relating to light-houses. This building was 
erected of stone, and was sixty feet high, or seventy-five 
with the lantern. The diameter of the base of the 
tower was about twenty-five feet, and that of the top 
fifteen feet. The wall at the bottom was seven and a 
half feet thick, and the top two and a half feet; making 
the outside conical, with a cylindrical opening in the 
centre of ten feet, for stairs, etc. The lantern, octago- 


nal in shape, was fifteen feet high, and about eight and 
a half in diameter. It was Uluininated by four lamps 
holding each a gallon of oil, and having four burners to 
each. Until the United States took jurisdiction of the 
light-houses on the coast, it was under the control of the 
Governor and Council, and its expenses defrayed by the 
duty upon vessels, called " light money," which was a 
shilling a ton on all foreign vessels, and two pence half- 
penny on American vessels clearance. Light-house 
Island was ceded to the United States on the tenth of 
June, 1790. 

The present light-house has been refitted several 
times since its erection in 1783. In 1856 the apparatus 
was renewed by H. !N". Hooper & Co., of Boston, and 
consisted of fourteen twenty-one inch reflectors, ar- 
ranged to show two faces of illumination of seven 
reflectors each, the whole made and fitted in the most 
perfect manner, and, when lighted, each face displayed 
during a revolution (for the lights revolved) an area of 
about sixteen square feet. It was considered by ship- 
masters as the best on the American coast. In Janu- 
ary, 1860, the old tower was raised in height, now 
measuring in altitude about ninety-eight feet above the 
sea level, and new illuminating apparatus adopted. The 
white tower with its black lantern and revolving light, 
which can be seen at a distance of sixteen nautical 
miles, if the weather be fair and the sky clear, is an im- 
posing object, with its neighbor, the fog bell, when 
viewed from vessels entering or leaving the harbor. 
The wharf conveniences to the Light-house Island are 
amply sufficient for their intended purposes. 

Northeast of the Great Brewster is the Middle 
Brewster, composed almost entirely of rocks; but it has 


upon it about ten acres of fair soil fit for cultivation. 
This island has several rudely-constructed houses upon 
it, which mostly are sustained by props, to prevent their 
being blown down by the wind, which at some seasons 
of the year rages violently at the mouth of the harbor. 
In these tenements reside the families of fishermen and 
other seafaring men. 

Farther east lies the Outer Brewster, apparently a 
huge mass of rocks; yet within its rough exterior is 
contained an oasis of about five acres of good soil, and 
a natural pond and spring of fresh water. A small 
house in this fertile spot is occupied in summer, but not 
in winter, on account of the unapproachable condition 
of the island. This island is one of the most romantic 
places near Boston, far surpassing ]N"ahant in its wild 
rocks, chasms, caves and overhanging cliffs. An artifi- 
cial channel, hewn in the rock by the late Mr. Austin, 
nearly divides it into two islands. This was intended 
as a haven for small vessels, and, with the gate at its 
mouth, it furnished a good dock when occasion re- 
quired. The owners of this property have, from time to 
time, expected to realize much by the sale of stone for 
building purposes. This island has its ]N"orth Point, and 
formerly had Eastermost Tree at its east head. Between 
the Outer and Middle Brewster is a small passageway, 
called Flying Place. 

South of the Outer and Middle Brewsters lie the 
Egg Rocks, frequently called the Shag Rocks. These 
are. dangerous to mariners, and have caused shipwrecks, 
which a beacon-light would have prevented. The great 
calamity of l^ovember, 1860, when the Maritana was 
lost, and twenty-six men perished, should be a sufficient 
warning for the United States authorities to proceed at 


once to the erection of some STiitable protection against 
such dreadful losses. 

As the Brewsters make the northern boundary of 
the mouth of the harbor, so does Point Allerton form 
the southern. This remarkable headland is fast wearing 
away; but it is hoped that the sea-wall to be commenced 
in 1870, under the direction of Major-General Foster, 
wUl, when completed, prevent this great injury to the 

]S^orth of the Brewsters is Calf Island, containing 
ten acres and three houses, once known as Apthorp's 
Island, probably La respect to Mr. Charles Apthorp, 
once the owner of Long Island and other property in 
immediate connection with the harbor. On this island 
is a very pretty grove of wild cherries, some pleasant 
beaches, and wild basaltic rocks. At its easterly point 
are rocks called Pope's Rocks, and Iforth Rocks. 
North of it is what is generally called the Little Calf, 
which is uninhabited. 

Just north of the group above described is Green 
Island, perhaps the least pleasantly situated of all the 
islands at the mouth of the harbor; yet it is not unin- 
habited. It was known a hundred years ago as the 
!North Brewster, and contains one apology for a house. 
At the time of the destruction of the Minot's Ledge 
Light-house, in 1851, the tide rose so high that its two 
inhabitants had to be rescued by one of the pilot boats. 
On this island has resided for many years a strange 
being, singular in his habits, and possessing a very inde- 
pendent spirit. Mr. Samuel Choate was not far from 
seventy years of age, when, in February, 1865, the in- 
clemency of the season was so great that he was tem- 
porarily compelled to leave his chosen abode of twenty 


years, and accept the protection of the Harbor Police. 
It appears that, in his younger days, he was an ordinary 
seaman, and that, about the year 1845, he established 
himself upon the island, where he dwelt in a rudely- 
constructed hut, sustaining himself by fishing, and sub- 
sisting on fish, lobsters, and muscles. For many years, 
inducements were offered him to pass his winters where 
he could be made more comfortable, but to no effect, 
until the severity of the weather was such that he 
must necessarily have perished but for his timely 
rescue. He had been brought up to Boston once before 
on the eighth of July, 1862, when his boat had been 
broken to pieces ; but preferring his hermit life, returned 
again to his island. On the eighth of February, 1865, 
he was sent to the almshouse at Bridgewater, where he 
subsequently died. This island has what is called its 
South Point. 

West of Green and Calf Islands are Alderidge's 
Ledge, Half-Tide Kocks, the Devil's Back (dry at low 
water), Maffit's Ledge, and Barrel Rock. This last 
named rock, which was a great obstruction to naviga- 
tion on account of its dangerous position, was entu-ely 
removed by Major- General Foster in 1869. It was 
an immense boulder of Medford granite, and was un- 
doubtedly carried there by some ancient glacier. East 
of Shag Hock is Boston Ledge, marked by Red Buoy 
1^0. 4. East of the Outer Brewster are Tewksbury Rock 
and Martin's Ledge, the latter marked by Red Buoy No. 
2. I^ortheast of Green Island are Sunken Rocks, and, 
still farther to the east, are the Graves, so truly and 
fearfully named, although they have been supposed to 
have derived their name from Admiral Graves, who 
touched them in the days of the Revolution. Farther 



out to sea, easterly, about three miles, and north and 
south of the main ship channel, are Thieves' Ledge and 
Harding's Kocks, the most dangerous obstacles to the 
entrance of the harbor. The Big Hardiag is four feet 
high, as seen at low water. About six miles southeast 
of the Harding's is Minot's Ledge Light-house. The 
original structure was erected in 1843; this was de- 
stroyed by the great storm on the sixteenth of April, 
1851, and the deposit for the foundation-stone of the 
new buildiag was made on the second of October, 1858, 
and its light first exhibited on the fifteenth of Novem- 
ber, 1860. 

"With this chapter, the description of the harbor 
closes; nevertheless, another chapter will be given, for 
the purpose of showing the ancient sailing directions 
for vessels entering the harbor, and for a condensed 
sketch of the usual route out of the harbor. 



Recapitulatory Description of the Harbor •■• Ancient Sailing Directions for 
Entering the Harbor • . . Synopsis of Preceding Description ■ • • Starting 
Point, Liverpool Wharf. • • Fort Point Channel • • . Objects in View • • • Main 
Ship Channel, First Course • • • Second Course • . . Courses to Castle Island 
and Governor's Island • • • Objects in View • • • Several Courses • • • Coui'ses to 
Thompson's and Spectacle Islands • • ■ Back Way • • • Third Course • • • Cour- 
ses to Long Island and Deer Island • • • Courses to Nahant, and over Broad 
Sound • • • Hypocrite Passage • • • Fifth Course • • • The Narrows ■ • • Course to 
Bainsford Island • • ■ Sixth Course, to the Sea • ■ • Table of Sailing Distances 
• • • Table of Linear Distances. 

The reader having been carried out " beyond the Light," 
it will be proper to pilot him back again to Boston, and 
for this purpose his attention is called to the following 
sailing directions, which are those that were in use at the 
close of the Revolutionary War. They show conclu- 
sively that the harbor, and its various channels, were as 
well known to the mariners of the olden time, as they 
now are to those of the present day. Rev. John Mal- 
■ ham, the author of IS'avigation Made Easy and Familiar, 
and of other works on naval affairs, says in his ]S"aval 
Gazetteer, that, "Boston in Massachusetts, N. America, 
is situated on a peninsula at the bottom of a spacious 
bay, which is covered with small islands and rocks, and 
defended by a castle and battery. It forms a crescent 
about the harbour, and has a beautiful prospect from